2. The privacy divide: It'll cost you
Although the choice between iOS and Android may sometimes seem like a question of aesthetics, the reality is that the different business models of Apple and Google lead to fundamental differences for your privacy, Axios' David McCabe and Ina Fried report.
Why it matters: Because of the way Google monetizes user data, Android phones can cost hundreds of dollars less than iOS devices. The more you spend, the more likely you are to use a device with more privacy protection and less data collection.
- iOS anonymizes much of the data sent back to Apple — although the company still collects a broad swath of information.
- Apple markets privacy as a key feature of its products.
- Android phones, by design, send a lot more data back to Google, including location and other sensitive info, much of which powers the company's vast ad-targeting network.
Between the lines: Even within the Android ecosystem, there's inequality. Because there are so many different Android-based products, the popular high-end devices are subjected to more rigorous testing by app developers. So low-cost devices may have more glitches.
By the numbers: Studies have shown that the more you earn, the more likely you are to own an iOS device.
- A 2013 Pew study found that people with household incomes of $74,999 or less were more likely to say their phone was an Android device than an iPhone.
- The opposite was true of people with incomes of $75,000 or higher.
The big picture: As business models evolve, privacy is more often seen as something you pay for. That’s a concerning trend for privacy advocates.
- “I think many folks would say that runs the risk of marginalizing the poor,” said Allie Bohm of the public interest group Public Knowledge.
- Internet service providers experimented with so-called pay-for-privacy plans, where you get a discount if you agree to data collection, but later pulled back on those efforts.
The bottom line: Google isn’t interested in changing its data-driven business model. It does lead to more affordable devices, but those savings can come at a cost to privacy.