Apple doesn’t usually shy away from a chance to battle with its competitors, but it hasn’t used a trade show to make an argument, let alone even a public presence, for many years. However, following a rough patch that’s slashed more than $300 billion in market value in two months, Apple is using this week’s CES conference to make a bold statement in a rather uniquely Apple fashion.
While Apple isn’t formally attending the world’s biggest trade show, it has taken out a massive billboard covering the side of a hotel that overlooks the Las Vegas Convention Center where its rivals are expected to have a massive presence, according to CNBC.
The 13-story billboard, which covers almost the entirety of the CES-adjacent hotel, reads: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” The ad concludes with a link to Apple’s privacy page.
The not-so-subtle dig at companies like Amazon and Google, which have an increasingly large presence at CES, highlights a significant point of differentiation for Apple. The company has consistently emphasized where its business model differs from those of companies that sell users’ data to marketers, data brokers and other companies that can profit from personal information.
While the ad uses Apple’s flagship device to make a point about user privacy, it’s likely to come up in discussions about virtual assistants at CES, where many devices will be showcased with Alexa or Google Assistant built in. Amazon became the undisputed powerhouse of CES a couple of years ago when Alexa-powered devices dominated the event, but Google has consistently pushed Google Assistant into more devices and increased its presence at CES in kind.
Apple has effectively shunned CES to great effect, and at times overwhelmed discussions in the halls and on stage without actually attending the event. Indeed, when the first iPhone was announced at the Macworld convention in 2007, it virtually dominated the news cycle just as CES was getting underway.