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There's probably more money to be made in Apple themselves becoming the middle man for location data, rather than charging a very small number of people who care a premium to prevent sale of said data. From an ethical standpoint, I see where you're coming from, but from a business acumen perspective, I can't see it being more profitable.

I disagree. Treating customers badly is not a good long term business strategy. You can get away with it when customers don't know what you're doing, and you can absolutely get away with it by trading reputation for money for a long time when you have major market penetration or pseudo-monopoly, but eventually the public sours on the relationship. This trend has been seen in major retail stores. (Sears comes to mind as a good example) Compare and contrast to costco which works relentlessly to get their customers better deals, even at their own expense. They've seen massive growth where a ton of other retailers that focused on driving margins as high as they could get them (where costco literally hard caps margins internally) have seen major losses and then proceeded to blame those losses on online retailers. You can only abuse your customer for as long as you have a monopoly.

For a closer analogy, look at how fit bit numbers dropped when google announced they were buying Fitbit. (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/17/people-getting-rid-of-fitbit...)

What other privacy-minded phone are people going to run to, if Apple sells out? Google? Apple could absolutely be playing the long con here. Much like Google did with Chrome, allowing uBlock as a browser extension for nearly a decade.

If Apple does struggle to grow profitability through services, or can't find it's next "iPhone", I would expect to see profits grow from some potentially unsavory options. They wouldn't be Apple's first option, for sure, but in a world where Apple's business plateaus, privacy is on the chopping block.

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