Still, one can’t help but wonder whether Apple backed into their position on privacy. As a cynic, I don’t think that Apple truly has a genuinely profound concern for the issue. Very little in their past would suggest that this is something they care about to the core. They’re a company that has always understood hardware, not software, and they’re fumbling as software becomes something defined by data and cloud and constant connectivity. Google’s view is a post-Internet ideology, and Apple, confused and slightly threatened, is falling back on an argument about privacy.
I personally have a lot of time for Apple seemingly taking a strong stand for user privacy. But I do agree that their position feels somewhat convenient given they still seem outmatched compared to Google when it comes to services, data crunching and the like.
And I also agree there's every chance Apple will have to walk their position back to some degree at some point (likely as a fully anonymized and opt-in way).