When Apple unveiled iOS 8 last month, only brief mentions were made of iBeacon, the company’s much-hyped proximity messaging protocol. But early versions of the software released to developers in July suggest that the forthcoming operating system could include changes with even deeper implications for stakeholders across the commerce, advertising, and retail technology industries.
The most important changes center on Apple’s role as a gatekeeper for user’s information. In June, Apple announced Healthkit, a new program include in iOS 8 which helps measure and manage the highly sensitive and regulated world of personal health information. As the company builds software around more sensitive personal information — from pulse to payments — Apple appears to be pulling back on other personally identifiable information like location as well.
“If Apple wants to extend these services, it is going to have to create a more structured sandbox,” Maya Mikhailov, vice president at GPShopper, a retail-focused mobile development shop, told me earlier this week. Mikhailov, who has spent time with some of the developer builds for iOS 8, says the company’s newest software includes deeper, more granular privacy controls for users, and a potentially destabilizing threat to some in the advertising and analytics sector.