At WWDC 202, Apple announced Mail Privacy Protection, which removes tracking pixels from emails. These are used by newsletter services to let the sender see how many people open a message, how often, and when. Thanks to the likes of Substack and Revue, this industry has seen a recent boom, and Chris Stokel-Walker investigated for Wired how Apple’s move might affect them and others.

The decision is made all the more significant when you take into account Apple’s stranglehold on the email ecosystem. Between the iPhone and Apple Mail apps, more than 60 per cent of all email accounts are opened in a piece of software controlled by Apple… The worry among newsletter publishers is that at a stroke, Apple is about to do the same thing to the newsletter industry, removing one of the major benchmarks upon which newsletter advertising is sold – and therefore, the production of newsletters is funded.

Check It Out: Apple is Coming After Substack and the Email Newsletter Industry

2 Comments Add a comment

  1. Burgermeister

    Back in the 90s and 00s, I subscribed to quite a few newsletters. By now, I’m subscribed to none, having noticed the senders’ increasingly invasive behavior — to which I was never asked to consent — a while back. Maybe, just maybe, this Apple initiative can make me return to the fold.

  2. W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

    ‘The decision is made all the more significant when you take into account Apple’s stranglehold on the email ecosystem. Between the iPhone and Apple Mail apps, more than 60 per cent of all email accounts are opened in a piece of software controlled by Apple…’

    Charlotte:

    Never mind the fact that Apple are going after pixel tracking with Mail Privacy Protection, a good thing mind you; I think we need to process that statistic, that more than 60 per cent of all email accounts are opened on Apple-controlled software.

    Holy inboxes, Batman! When did that happen?

    That might also explain the unceremonious disappearance of the BBC’s invariably repeated comment at the end of every Apple-related story, that Apple only control a 3% market share of all PCs – a misleading statistic to be sure (and not to pick on the BBC, but that was particularly annoying). This is a sea-change, if accurate.

    If true, what this signals is that we need to change the metrics by which we measure functional computer market share, if we are to have a more accurate and practical understanding. It would also be of interest to take a deeper dive into these statistics and describe their structure; including personal vs enterprise use, and in which sectors has Apple’s market share seen the greatest growth, and over what timeframe.

    As one Star Trek science officer was wont to say, ‘Fascinating’.

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