How Apple's new iPhone brings Minority Report a step closer to reality

Companies can now target you with specific ads depending on your location

A man walks down a busy high street towards a well-known coffee chain. As he gets within 500 yards of the café, his mobile phone buzzes in his pocket with an advert from the company offering him a discount on a cup of coffee.

It might sound like a scene from the science fiction film Minority Report, but personalised advertising techniques such as this are closer to becoming a reality than ever before.

When Apple announced the latest update to the iPhone this week, most headlines revolved around the device's "multitasking capabilities", which will allow users to run more than one application at once. The revelation that Apple intends to join the lucrative online advertising market was largely ignored.

With the "iAd", Apple has created a mobile advertising platform which will make it easy for developers to embed advertising inside their apps. The company will keep 40 per cent of the revenue and says it hopes to be sending out more than one billion ad impressions by the end of the year.

The move is part of a wider tactical shift by the San Francisco computer giant to carve itself a slice of the highly lucrative mobile phone advertising market, currently dominated by its rivals Google and Microsoft.

But the prospect of phone users being bombarded with adverts depending on where they are also raises privacy issues. Many of the most popular applications on the iPhone – and other smartphones such as those that run on Google's Android platform – use so-called "location services" which tell developers where consumers are when they use their software.

Currently, iPhone users have to opt in to allow the application to use their location which, if they agree, provides companies with valuable information about their customers. But the new version of the iPhone will be able to operate multiple applications which will be able to continually update developers of their progress.

If a user was to remain signed in to their Facebook account permanently and had agreed to share their location, their phone could handily alert them if one of their friends wandered within half a mile of their location. But this would also allow the social networking site to build up a detailed picture of their daily movements.

Such data is a treasure trove to retailers. Kim Mai-Cutler, a technology specialist writing on the Mobile Beat website, said: "McDonald's could theoretically serve 10,000 people mobile ads in a city and receive analytics showing what percentage of them later actually visited a McDonald's. That's much more measurable than buying a 30-second [advert] on TV, which can't return granular data on how it affected purchasing behaviour."

Rik Fergusson, a cyber security expert at Trend Micro, said location services also raise security dilemmas. "Many people unwittingly publish huge amounts of data about themselves from their smartphones, such as location and whether they'll be away from home for a long time," he said. "That kind of information is like gold dust to robbers. If you want to be safe, think very carefully about every time you allow an application to show your location."

News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

    QA/BA - Agile

    £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

    Senior Infrastructure Engineer - Server, Networks

    £40000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Infrastructure En...

    Application Support Analyst - Service Desk - Central London

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analy...

    Day In a Page

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence