While it was not a main point at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, the next version of Safari may include an ad blocker by default, arguably one of the company's biggest announcements.
This is big news for online advertisers, who are in uproar over Apple's decision, which could have very worrying effects on the Internet industry in general.
Ad blocking itself is basically running a piece of software that blocks ads on most websites. While it has been fairly limited to a small percentage of people that used ad-blocking software in the past, a report from last year found that the use of ad-blocking was up 70 percent from 2013, with 41 percent of those aged between 18 and 29 using the software.
Needless to say, this is a big deal for advertisers, especially since this will be the first time that the software is offered on mobile devices. The move is seen as a pretty big jab at the likes of Google and Facebook, both of which make a significant majority of their money from online advertising.
Many users, however, are likely excited at the news because of the intrusive and frustrating way in which many advertisers implement advertising. If advertisers want users to consider not using ad-blocking software, they will need to find ways to include ads much in a more subtle way.
"Consumers have shown that they only want ads and extensions they really are interested in and not sent to them out of context," says Tim Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies. "They play a role in the overall tech ecosystem, so Apple needs to make it easy for people to opt in or opt out. Apple is mainly responding to the demands of consumers who only want things they really care about."
Publishers are already struggling to find effective ways to generate revenue online as it is, and the move by Apple could significantly hinder this process. The move is made even more significant because of the popularity of Safari on mobile with the rise of the iPhone.
Of course, there are good reasons to use ad-blocking software. Ads often significantly slow the performance of a web browser. Not only that, but they include tracking technology, worrying many of the more privacy-aware among us.
"Unlimited tracking and web pages cluttered with direct-response ads has prompted consumers to look for solutions to block ads altogether .... Ultimately, our industry needs to move faster on these issues so that we can combat the low level of trust in digital advertising and avoid having a third party be the arbiter of what's allowed and what's not on our sites and apps," said Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next.