Despite Apple apparently revealing all about iOS 9 during its WWDC keynote earlier this week, we’re learning more and more about some of the forthcoming update’s less obvious features.
One of these is small, but potentially game–changing: Apple has revealed on its developer site that it’s going to offer Content Blocking Safari Extensions in iOS 9.
This is a fancy way of saying that at last it is bringing ad–blocking to iOS’s web browser.
For iPhone and iPad owners, this is welcome news. Increasingly, websites are allowing rollover and pop–up ads to appear on mobile pages, ruining the reading experience and putting short term financial gain over growing a loyal readership who can withstand some ads, but not intrusive ones.
Such extensions are, of course, nothing new. Google Android already offers them and so does Apple with its version of Safari for Mac.
But bringing them to the most valuable mobile operating system of all is a big move. The idea of being able to install an ad blocker app on your iPhone is a powerful one and something plenty of users will take up if given half the chance.
This does, however, set Apple on a collision course with advertisers.
They are unlikely to be too impressed that a company which controls so much of the mobile web space is making moves like this. It could hamper profits and hit revenue hard.
To that end, businesses could do well to rethink their practices.
Pop ups and rollovers have fast become pariahs on the desktop web, so why shouldn’t they be on mobile? They harm the reading experience and often slow things to a crawl.
Yes, you could say users should then start paying for services if they don’t want ads.
But at the same time, surely it’s down to advertisers to come up with creative solutions to the problem. It’s what they’re good at, after all.
This latest iOS 9 feature plays into a wider narrative coming from Apple. It appears to be pushing hard to put users and consumers first.
For evidence, witness its big push for improved privacy, with no data mining for third parties via the newly updated Siri.
Apple seems to have finally got the fact that consumers don’t like being exposed in this way and it’s doing something about it.
iOS 9 may not offer the visual change that iOS 7 did. But its wide–ranging changes are set to make the iPhone even better than before.