You know what, Apple? I'd rather you spammed me with adverts

Tim Cook
You're all profiting from us one way or another

Tim Cook adopted a defensive stance this week, posting a public letter to Apple fans that set out to underline how honourable and trustworthy his company is.

The core of his argument is that Apple is one of the good guys, because it doesn't infringe the privacy of its users by selling adverts based upon harvested personal data.

The Apple boss used his bizarre outpouring to stick it to smartphone rival Google, claiming, in terms clearly aimed at puncturing Google's reliance on the ad-based model, that some companies treat their users as if they're "the product" rather than a valued customer or a beloved old school friend like Bono.

Sure, Apple's not quite as aggressive on the adverts as Google can be, but when its phones cost two or three or four or five times as much as the equally capable models of its competitors, there clearly isn't as much need to pull in pennies per click once the hardware has been sold.

Tim Cook's happy that his company doesn't sell personally targeted adverts generating his company $0.03 per 1,000 views, but he's also perfectly happy to sell a model of the iPhone 6 Plus for £789 (AU$1129, $949). He's ignoring the pennies and taking care of the pounds, like any good oligarch.

Cash check

A glance at the Apple Store tells us more about why Apple's not really bothered about the tight margins of the online advertising world.

It doesn't need to scan emails and serve ads alongside them, because its poor users have to pay a shocking £15 for a replacement should they stupidly lose or break their magical lightning cable.

The hardware produced by Samsung, LG, HTC and the rest of the advert-serving axis of Android can be charged by standard USB lead, as mandated by the European Union. Apple goes it alone, getting around the requirement to use microUSB in Europe by, yes, selling an adaptor.

The standard official 1m lightning to USB cable costs £15 (AU, US$19. That's a lot. If you have a big bed and a lack of conveniently placed plug sockets and need a longer lead to enable more comfortable in-bed tweeting and charging, a 2m cable costs £25 (AU$, US$29).

Apple is charging its loyal users an extra £10 for one metre of wire. That's a lot more aggressively capitalistic than serving an advert for weight loss herbs because you emailed a friend saying you had too much pudding last night.

It's also enabling its peripheral maker friends to cash in, too. Griffin is fortunate enough to have its 3.5mm headphone jack listed on Apple's official iPhone accessory page, with the jack-to-jack lead listed for £14.95. It's better than a 99p one from eBay because... it costs more.

It's gold-plated-hdmi-cables all over again.


But to position the company like it's some sort of benevolent charity because it doesn't track or overly advertise to its users is madness.

Apple makes money by selling technology for more than it costs to get some people in China to make, like any good modern capitalist enterprise. Claiming it's doing good by not selling ads as well is a meaningless boast.

Cook may as well be trying to capitalise on the fact that Apple doesn't have a track record of presiding over a leaky nuclear reactor. It's not what it does.