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Photo: Apple

In a new TV ad out today, Apple features people inappropriately blurting out private information in public places.

Why it matters: With this bit of satire, Apple aims to win over consumers with a privacy-first message — and also to paint itself as a force for good amid the public debate over Big Tech's power.

Details: The minute-long spot features a variety of scenes, including:

  • A man on a bus shouting that he has been browsing for a divorce attorney.
  • A woman at a movie telling the person next to her the e-mail address she uses to "login for everything."
  • A man jogging and loudly sharing his heart rate aloud as he goes.
  • A woman with a bullhorn announcing her credit card number.

The screen then reads: "Some things shouldn't be shared. iPhone keeps it that way."

Between the lines: Apple's message may be humorous, but it is not subtle.

  • The company wants to distinguish between its business model, in which consumers pay for hardware and services, from its rivals', which uses personal data to target ads.
  • Apple's case to customers is: You don't have to choose between technology and privacy.

Yes, but: Privacy still comes at a price. Apple makes billions from its high-end hardware and billions more from its growing array of paid services. It also gets billions from ad-supported Google to be the default search engine on Macs and iOS devices. You can see the ad here.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 18, 2020 - Technology

Apple to lower commissions for small businesses on App Store

Screenshot via Apple.com

Apple announced a new program Wednesday under which it will take a smaller 15% cut from App Store sales for businesses earning less than $1 million selling their apps, rather than the standard 30% cut.

Why it matters: Apple is under fire from some critics over its rigid App Store policies that require developers to use Apple payment systems for both app sales and in-app payments in exchange for a cut of sales.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 18, 2020 - Technology

Microsoft adding security chip to Windows machines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Microsoft said Tuesday it is working with chipmakers AMD, Intel and Qualcomm to bring a new security processor to Windows machines. Dubbed Pluton, the security chip is based on work done for the Xbox One and designed to bring an added layer of security.

Why it matters: A number of difficult-to-patch chip flaws in recent years have left computers vulnerable to attack. It also comes as many of the biggest tech companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, are increasingly designing their own silicon to augment traditional processors.

6 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.