Numerous mobile device companies are using Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) to log app use and refine their understanding of how users use their software. That helps them tweak their programs to better suit user needs and to identify minor problems with the software which people might be experiencing but otherwise wouldn’t report back to developers.
Late last year Apple announced that it would be phasing out UDIDs for iOS developers, as the system was open to abuse. The furore exploded when Apple was called before a Congressional Comittee to answer privacy issues that arose when news broke that the app Path previously available for inspection by anyone with an app installed on an iOS device had complete access to a user’s contact lists.
However the new API – ‘application programming interface’ – that the company would make available to developers is still a gray area; with Apple keen to plug potential security holes in its iOS platform. The issue is especially significant right now as Apple is hoping to make its iPad a real alternative to the new Windows 8 slates (complete with Microsoft Office) on the horizon. Now there are suggestions that Apple will use a system of quasi-anonymous user info, whereby data returned to developers about their app is not linked to any specific piece of hardware. There should be an announcement at Apple’s WWDC concerning the new beefed-up security.