Apple highlights privacy in new services in jab at rivals

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple says its services respect your digital boundaries — and it wants you to know it.

The company took several opportunities Monday to emphasize user privacy — and indirectly take a jab at rivals — at its splashy, celebrity-laden event in Cupertino, California.

Apple announced a new streaming TV service, a paid subscription level for its news app, a video game service and an Apple-branded credit card, as it tries to push its services businesses to make up for a decline in sales of the iPhone.

The new services will pit Apple against the likes of Google and Facebook in news, and Amazon and Netflix in streaming video. But unlike many of its competitors, Apple said it won’t use your news preferences and spending history to sell advertising.

Facebook, Google and other tech companies have come under fire for the amount of data they collect on users to sell advertising. Apple has largely escaped this backlash and has sought to set itself apart by emphasizing its privacy safeguards. Apple has been able to do so because the bulk of its business is in hardware, namely iPhones.

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Apple wants to reassure customers that it’s still committed to privacy with the new push on services.

It’s a way for Apple to remind people that the company is more consumer-friendly than many of its competitors, said eMarketer analyst Paul Verna. He said the strategy is especially important because Apple is a late entrant to the streaming market.

“It doesn’t surprise me that they hit that pretty hard,” he said. “Apple has always been different from their competitors in that they are not very advertising-centric.”

Apple News Plus, which charges $10 a month for articles from some magazines and newspapers, will make article recommendations within the app. Apple said it will not send information about what you read to its servers.

Though publishers will be paid based on how many people read, Apple says data will be collected in such a way that it won’t know who read what, just what total time is spent on different stories.

Similarly with its credit card, Apple will store purchase information on devices that the card is tied to. The company said it won’t send that information to its servers or sell it to third-party companies for marketing and advertising.

“Apple doesn’t know where a customer shopped, what they bought or how much they paid,” the company promised in announcing its new credit card, the Apple Card.

The paid gaming and TV streaming services will be ad-free, Apple pledged.

Games won’t be able to collect data or track how people play without getting consent, though Apple didn’t elaborate on what getting consent entails.

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Apple also said its TV service will not share user’s personal information with anyone.

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