Apple's smug new iPhone ad says privacy matters, just weeks after FaceTime bug fail

Forget cameras, screen, and speedy processors. Privacy is reason you should buy an iPhone, according to Apple.

Apple disables FaceTime after serious security flaw found Apple iPhone users discovered a serious FaceTime bug that lets you hear audio from another iPhone or even view live video without the recipient's knowledge.

Apple has released a new iPhone TV ad that puts the question of privacy center stage, emphasizing to people that 'Privacy Matters' in life and therefore that it matters on the device where your life is stored.  

The ad is available to view on YouTube but will be airing on prime time TV slots in the US throughout March before being shown in some other international markets. 

Apple offers a non-technical explanation of privacy through real-life scenarios that are meant to remind viewers why privacy on a phone matters. 

The scenes include two men in a cafe discussing something and then pausing when a waitress arrives to take away their plates. That's followed by a series of shutting doors, a man hesitating over which urinal to pick, a girl eating her paper note when a teacher asks to see it, lots of locks, and a woman who's applying makeup closing her car window after she realizes a man in the car beside hers is watching. 

"If privacy matters in your life it should matter to the phone your life is on," the ad states. "Privacy. That's iPhone."

It's the same theme and tone as the billboard Apple put up outside the CES 2019 tech conference in Las Vegas, which stated: "What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone."

The 'privacy matters' ad of course comes on the heels of the huge privacy bug in the Group FaceTime feature, which let other FaceTime users eavesdrop on fellow iPhone owners.  

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Apple offers a more technical take on what privacy translates to on the iPhone beneath the ad, as well as a link to Apple's page explaining how Apple products protect user privacy. 

"From encrypting your iMessage conversations, or not keeping a history of your routes in Maps, to limiting tracking across sites with Safari. iPhone is designed to protect your information."  

The ad is meant to differentiate Apple from ad-driven businesses like Google and Facebook, which depend on collecting and using private data. 

It's also in line with a number of speeches Apple CEO Tim Cook has made in the past year on the importance of privacy. He told a group of European privacy regulators in October that a "data industrial complex" had emerged around online personal data that was weaponized and used against users with "military efficiency".

Previous and related coverage

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Apple confirms that Group FaceTime 'add person' feature is hobbled after eavesdropping patch in iOS 12.1.4.

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At WWDC, Apple announced a new feature for iOS 12 that will allow FaceTime to accommodate up to 32 people at once. This could make Apple a contender in the enterprise video conferencing realm.