Just as Apple released its new operating system, it appears that some of adland's worst fears may come true, at least in the short run.
Apple on Wednesady released iOS9 for the iPhone, which enables extensions for content blocking -- including ad blocking -- in its Safari browser. For months now, execs in the marketing world have been uneasy, declaring that Apple's new operating system could usher in a wave of consumers who block ads on mobile.
Thanks to the media attention the issue has gotten, they might not be wrong. Apple's App Store chart indicates that there's at least some initial interest in ad-blocking apps.
According to Recode:
"Peace, a $2.99 ad-blocking app created by former Tumblr engineer Marco Arment, currently sits at first place in the iOS paid apps, bumping Microsoft's Minecraft."
Since Recode published Thursday morning, Peace remains at the top of the chart, but other apps have moved up. Purify is in the No. 3 slot and in fourth is Crystal, which is an app that was developed by Dean Murphy. Further down the ranking, Blockr is in the No. 13 slot.
Only time will tell if ad blocking on mobile will truly get any traction beyond initial interest or curiosity, and the Apple charts can often be fickle. As Recode points out, "ITunes ranks apps by total sales and speed of downloads, giving stronger weights to suddenly popular ones."
Some apps had already been available on the iPhone prior to the iOS 9 launch. Ad Age recently tested some of those that were available at the time and showed that aside from sponsored posts on apps like Facebook and Twitter, the ad blocking was effective. Those apps weren't widely popular, however. According to App Annie, many of them hadn't broken into the top 500 downloaded apps in the last 90 days, if ever.
The browser-extension allowance launched yesterday only enables blocking on Safari, and doesn't affect other browsers or in apps.