iAd is so out of character with the rest of Apple. On the Apple Privacy page, Cook wrote a letter about Apple’s dedication to keeping user data private and secure. Yet, iAd sticks out like a sore thumb because by its nature, it can’t be that private. Cook has to dedicate a lengthy paragraph to explain the nature of iAd and its goals. It’s obviously an outlier.
Cook says the primary purpose of iAd is to help developers. If true, it needs a lot of work to actually make a difference in the space. Although the integration process is the simplest available for iOS advertising SDKs, ROI on impressions is mediocre and the iAd inventory exhibits particularly underwhelming fill rates. Transitioning completely to automatic ad sales will help that, but there will always be the tension from the rest of Apple getting in the way. The incentives of an ad network, selling users to third-parties, defies what Apple preaches in every other regard.