Apple returns to CES, with privacy in tow

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CES is known for the long list of technology companies that show up and dazzle visitors with their latest and greatest wares. But CES is also known for a major tech company that does not show up — Apple.

Apple at CES 2020

That changed with CES 2020, as Apple’s privacy chief, Jane Horvath, became part of a panel that discussed consumer privacy — currently a hot button topic in light of Facebook’s numerous privacy gaffes and leaks. In fact, Apple has been quick to use privacy as a USP and point out how its products do a better job at it than Facebook and Co. And even though it was not officially present at CES last year, Apple exploited the event to brag about its privacy creds by putting up a giant billboard with a snarky message aimed directly at the Android camp: “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone”. Ouch! 

Image Credit: Engadget

Apple and Privacy in 2020

This year, Horvath highlighted how Apple was ready to go the extra mile to defend consumer privacy, even if it meant taking on the FBI or other agency. Politicians, too. As Bloomberg reports, she also described the ways Apple minimises data collection, or gathers information that is not tied to specific users. Apparently, Apple goes to the extent of putting a privacy engineer and a lawyer on each team developing new devices.

The last time a senior exec from Apple turned up at CES was way back in 1992, when Apple unveiled the Newton personal digital assistant — in those pre-smartphone days, PDAs were the cool thing busy execs liked to be seen with. 

But Apple soon followed up its CES appearance with an announcement that it was saying goodbye to the event. That shook things up, with some even questioning the relevance of CES. Would Apple’s exit trigger an exodus that would result in CES fading away into irrelevancy?

Thankfully, 28 years on, CES is still around. And apparently, it is back in Apple’s good books, too. Another reason for the change of heart could be flagging iPhone sales, which are the now bread and butter for the company, accounting for over 50 per cent of its revenue. CES would be a great venue to remind the world that privacy matters. And nobody does a better job at it than — drumroll, please — Apple!