Apple shocked the complete app marketing industry earlier this year with the announcement of reducing the support for IDFA. If you are not familiar with The Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), it is Apple’s own “Advertising Identifier” which enables advertisers to precisely target and track users within apps on iOS devices. In other words, the complete mobile ad industry and every bigger ad network are relying on this information. The benefit is not only to optimize the ads but to focus on users who are willing to spend money on in-app-purchases.
Timing is everything
Apple dropped this information during the international lock down period and said the global roll-out to be with iOS 14 in September 2020. As you can imagine, this pushed the mobile ad industry and app developers into a state of uncertainty and insecurity - when exactly will it happen, how exactly will it happen, what should we do, how should we prepare, how hard will it hit us... All those questions were on the mind of many people working in the app marketing industry.
A big relief for a lot of people
Luckily for the industry, Apple pulled back and said that they will postpone the full roll-out until the beginning of next year (read more about the iOS 14 delay). The official statement was: “To give developers time to make necessary changes, apps will be required to get permission to track users starting early next year. More information, including an update to the App Store Review Guidelines, will follow this fall.”
But, the celebration of the good news only held a couple of weeks. At their September event (where a lot of Apple fans were expecting the announcement of the iPhone 12 - which didn’t happen), Apple had another surprise for its app developers. The release date of iOS 14 was announced as 16th September 2020. So exactly one day after the event, where they officially announced it!
Now, iOS 14 comes with some major changes which means it also pushes app developers to update their apps in app stores. So that they work on the new operating system version. But the thing is, that although the new version is ready for release, then App Store Connect (where you upload and manage your iOS apps) and X-Code (where you code them) aren't. There are a lot of reported bugs of people who are not able to upload their latest versions of their apps.
A negative trend in partner relationship management
With not adequately informing its most important partners (the ones who are actually producing apps), Apple has been following a downward trend in transparent and respectful partner relationship management. Right at the moment, it really looks like Apple is caring less and less about the people who produce content for their ecosystem. And this for sure can come back in a very negative manner in the future.
Being an Apple user and Apple content producer myself, I really hope this behavior and missing transparency is related to the unexpected happenings (COVID19) earlier this year and will get better again over time. If not, I'm quite sure that it will have a negative impact on their mobile and app business in the long run.