Apple plans to enhance its advertising business. The Financial Times (FT) reports that the iPhone maker plans to add a second advertising slot in its App Store search Page. Apple’s (AAPL) latest development appears to rival Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL) in the $350 billion digital ads industry. The new advertising slot will allow advertisers to promote their apps across the entire ecosystem. Currently, advertisers can only promote their apps on specific searches on the App Store. According to the Financial Times, Apple is also planning to introduce new privacy rules that will cripple ads offered by its rivals on the iOS ecosystem. The FT report indicates that a forthcoming iOS 14.5 software update will prevent apps and advertisers from collecting iPhone users’ data without explicit consent. The ban is expected to take a significant toll on mobile advertising as most users are likely to decline being tracked. While Apple insists the new update will improve users’ privacy, some have been critical about the company's ambition to boost its own advertising business. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has already downplayed the need for the upgrade and believes that Apple is pushing its own competitive interests. “Apple may say they’re doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track with their competitive interests”, said Mr. Zuckerberg. It is no secret that Apple has always tried to strengthen its mobile advertising empire. In 2010, it acquired Quattro Wireless for $275 million. The same year, it tried to launch an advertising business as part of the iAd campaign. Apple is down about 0.5% year-to-date after an 80% pop in 2020. (See Apple stock analysis on TipRanks). A push to expand the advertising business coincides with reports that Apple plans to launch a podcast subscription service. According to Atlantic Equities's analyst James Cordwell, the launch of a subscription service is part of Apple's push to make its platform more attractive to creators through new monetization avenues. Apple will reportedly charge $19.99 to offer subscriptions on the platform, with creators being allowed to determine their subscription pattern. “While Spotify also has plans to launch a subscription service, we believe this marks the start of a more concerted effort from Apple to make its platform attractive to creators, potentially catalyzing a return to growth in its podcast audience”, Cordwell wrote in a research note to investors. The analyst has since reiterated an Overweight rating on Apple stock. Overall, analysts on Wall Street are cautiously optimistic about Apple. Consensus among analysts is a Moderate Buy based on 23 Buy, 4 Hold, and 2 Sell ratings. The average analyst price target of $152.50 implies 15.58% upside potential to current levels. AAPL scores a strong 8 out of 10 on the TipRanks’ Smart Score rating tool, suggesting that it is likely to outperform market expectations. Related News INVO Partners With Lyfe Medical To Expand INVOcell Solution In Northern California Facebook Begins Testing Short Video Ads On Instagram Reels - Report Verizon 5G Business Internet Now Available In 24 US Cities
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