Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The Similarity of Differences

Very smart article by Seth Clifford, and not just because he cited me:

I’m delighted that Apple wants to protect my information and is loudly standing up to the degradation of that idea in public and within the legal system. They may even be able to pull off the things I’m hoping for, without the compromises I’m looking to avoid. I’m also really excited to see what Google can actually do to advance the entire industry and provide new ways of solving serious problems. I think there are a lot of ways that these two approaches can exist together, in complementary layers, that can give us more of the future we’d hoped for.

As Federico Viticci notes, there are vast cultural differences between Apple and Google. One of those key differences is, of course, in the way each company handles personal data. Apple hasn’t wavered with their commitment to protecting personal data, even appointing so-called “privacy czars” internally to vet the use of customer information in any project.

Remember Steve Jobs’ concept of the “brand bank”?

Steve went on record many times about the importance of building a strong Apple brand. And he benefited from having a high balance in the brand bank many times. One of the most negative stories in recent years was the now-famous “Antennagate” controversy. When iPhone 4 was launched, Apple was battered by journalists and influential bloggers over what was perceived to be a flawed antenna design. Despite the heavily negative press and ridiculing by late-night TV hosts, Apple’s customers remained true. Now that episode is remembered only as an example of overreaction, with virtually no long-term impact.

Having a high balance in the brand bank makes all the difference.

Apple has a very high balance in their “privacy bank”, as it were. If Siri needs additional data, perhaps it’s time to make a withdrawal. I’m not necessarily saying that Apple should do that — I think their long-term commitment to privacy is admirable and just. But I’m saying that they could do so, if they felt it was necessary.