Adblock Plus, the popular (or unpopular depending upon which side you are in) ad-blocking software has released a standalone mobile browser for iOS, just like how it did with Android a couple of months ago. The company has been promoting the software as a way to block ads whilst browsing webpages, additionally it also claims to protect users from malware and also help them optimize the device performance.
The application release has been timed to perfection as Apple will be launching the final build of iOS 9 today. Surprisingly, Apple as a company had earlier strayed away from supporting ad blocking software and the fact is that users had to jailbreak their devices to install an ad blocker, but with iOS 9 the Cupertino folks themselves are incorporating a method for developers to embed ad bocking functionality in the iOS 9.
On the contrary, Apple is coming up with a News app which will carry highly optimized fast-loading mobile articles (similar to Newstand in Android) and it is offering 100% revenue from the ads sold to the publishers. That being said, it is still unclear to what extent Apple News will support smaller publishing outlets and the bottomline here is that Apple wants to kill ads, inducing a great sense of instability for the publishers.
Apple as a company is suddenly interested in fostering an ad blocking feature and the fact that it has allowed ad-blocker on its platform further concretes its intentions. These ad blocking software can spell a great deal of trouble for publishers as ads have always been the main source of revenue generation for most publications. This will not only starve the publishers of vitamin M, but will also result in the decrease of quality content providers. Although adblocking software have been making rounds from quite a long time, the adaption has been primarily on the desktops. Bringing ad-blocker features on the mobile devices will deliver a severe blow to the blooming mobile advertisement market.
On a more insightful note, it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple is actually trying to promote the iAds network for the iOS devices, thus adding a new dimension to its already close knit ecosystem. Apple’s mobile Safari content blocking feature can block most of the ads except for the ones by Apple as the company doesn’t do ads for the browsers and instead it does for the iOS apps.
AdBlock Plus itself has been accused in the past to be taking money from the likes of Google, Amazon and Microsoft to whitelist their ads on its platform. In any case, it’d be a testing time for the publishers and this will prompt them to scout for alternate streams of revenue to fill the void, but again it’s easier said than done.