When Apple in 2016 announced its interest in using ‘differential privacy’ to gather useful information while preserving user privacy, critics panned the firm for still somehow being “behind” other firms who focus less on privacy.

Things have moved on

This was what critics were saying: By insisting on preserving user privacy, Apple leaves itself unable to mine data to gain deeply useful insights and deliver useful services.

That was then.

One year on and we can see Apple’s approach: while continuing to know as little as possible about any individual’s use of their device, it is figuring out how to create useful and actionable services.

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