There are millions of Apple fans worldwide – those who will anxiously await the newest shiny silver Apple device. If it is shiny and silver we’ll buy it, or at least I love to say that given any chance. Samsung’s new (September-October 2012) commercial for their Galaxy S-3 smartphone makes good fun of us Apple fanboys and fangirls who will wait in lines for hours and days to be the first to get the new Apple toy, most recently, the iPhone 5.
I use “shiny” in deference to my all-time favorite Onion parody – a fictional news story about a fictional new Apple product – the MacBook Wheel. If you don’t know this genius of a parody, you’ve come to the right place! I consider this Onion parody on Applemania and technology reporting to be on a par with the original and quintessential “mockumentary” – “This Is Spinal Tap.”
In The Onion’s news exclusive, “Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard,” we were introduced to the funny but too-accurate saying, “I’ll buy almost anything if it’s shiny and made by Apple.”
There were many gems in this short piece including my favorite – Apple’s new “Predictive Sentence Technology,” with its millions of sentences from which to choose:
The aardvark admitted its fault.
The aardvark admitted it was wrong.
The aardvark asked for an aardvark.
The aardvark asked for a dagger.
And so on…..
But now to the problem I have with Apple today:
I listen to KCBS’ technology expert, Larry Magid’s brief daily podcast where he gives concise summaries of important news developments in technology, new gadgets, and services, as well as problems faced in cyberspace.
Here is one of Larry’s recent posts from his “Larry’s World” blog, on an annoying “improvement” in Apple’s iOS 6.
Apple claims that its Ad Tracking is “a non-permanent, non-personal device identifier that adverting networks will use to give you more control over advertiser’s ability to use tracking methods.”
But it is not so “non-permanent” and it might give you “more control” but certainly not enough control. Or the ability to completely opt out of being tracked by advertisers.
As Larry points out, the opting out option is not in an intuitive place, and is nearly completely hidden. One might think to look under “Settings” and then, “Privacy,” or under “Settings” and then “General,” and then “Privacy,” but none of these would be correct.
Instead one has to go to “Settings” and then “General.” OK. That’s sensible.
But the next step is bizarre – one must click on “About,” not “Restrictions,” or “Accessibility,” or another heading. (And under “General,” there is not even an option entitled, “Privacy.”) “About” is where one usually finds one’s serial number, device model indicator, cellular data number, wi-fi address, etc. Not where one would dig to change a privacy feature.
Next, after one has highlighted “About,” one must scroll down nineteen (19) headings to the word, “Advertising,” which is located just below “Modem Firmware” and above “Diagnostics & Usage.” Huh?
Next, one will click on the only option available – “Limit Ad Tracking.” So if you then click on “Limit Ad Tracking,” you are supposedly in for some relief from advertisers. But what kind and how much relief? Why isn’t there an option to “Eliminate” or “Disable” ad tracking?
You have only one option – the ability to “limit” advertisers’ ability to track you. You won’t know that advertisers have truly been limited and to what extent. Just trust Apple on this one – you have taken firm control of your online privacy with respect to advertisers, or as much as Apple will permit.
Apple is a great company for brilliant U.I. and ease and fun of use of their shiny silver toys. This feature and its obscure location, however, makes one realize that Apple plays by rules that aren’t benevolent or consumer-friendly (Apple loves us, don’t they?). Apple has sold us another expensive toy, so that we can buy into an expensive monthly marriage with a telecom and then sell us to as many advertisers as possible. And in addition, millions of us are now choosing to rent the music and books we have already purchased.
But as Kip Dynamite sang at his wedding in the film, “Napoleon Dynamite:”
“Yes, I love technology, but not as much as you you see, but I still I love technology, always and forever…”