Why Apple users are ‘Apple fanboys’

A bit of background, for the uninitiated:

In recent times, Apple has introduced in-App subscription capabilities to its iOS software platform.This means that iPhone users can now subscribe to news (and other) publications directly from their iPhones.

The catch? Apple would not, by default, allow publishers to access users’ personal data. This was something that publishers usually take for granted, and apparently, they also usually sell this information to advertising agencies to make money on the side. Apple demanded that users must choose to opt-in to data sharing, rather than have the option on by default.

This was cause for concern for publishing companies, who feared that given a choice, users would not share their personal information. (That right there says something about their sense of ethics, no?) Apple also came under fire for this decision [1,2].

How did Apple respond? In typical Apple fashion: they stuck to their guns.

Now the latest development in this saga:

As things stand, if you buy a subscription to The New Yorker or Popular Science in the iTunes store, you will get a little dialogue box asking if it’s all right if Apple shares some of your personal information with the publisher. Initially, publishers were worried, reasonably enough, that users would overwhelmingly say no. But they don’t. In fact, about 50 percent opt in.

The article goes on to add:

To me, this makes a real statement about how much trust Apple customers place in the company’s ability to create user experiences that are safe and enjoyable. Can you imagine 50 percent of people opting in to anything out there on the open Web? No chance.

Amazing, isn’t it? Guess why Apple’s customers would do that, against every grain of logic of experienced ad-professionals. Listen to this clip, from June 2010. This is Steve Jobs, talking about privacy:

Transcript of the most important bit (even though you really should watch the whole clip, and if possible the whole interview):

Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for. In plain English, and repeatedly. That’s what it means. I’m an optimist – I believe people are smart, and some people wanna share more data than other people do. Ask’em. Ask’em every time; make them tell you to stop asking them, if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re gonna do with their data.

Would you trust this company more with privacy, or, say, Facebook [1,2], or Google [1,2]? Amazing, what a little bit of honesty, transparency and responsibility towards theirs users can achieve.

It’s called Trust.

Link via Daring Fireball.

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