Apple has begun advertising the iPhone 6s to older iPhone users through the App Store, as spotted by @Dirk_Gently on Twitter. If a user browses the App Store, perhaps updating apps, with an iPhone 5s or earlier device, a modal popup may appear over the top of the view promoting the iPhone 6s as a ‘ridiculously powerful’ upgrade. Users are directed to learn more or ‘upgrade now’ which takes them to the Apple Store app to buy the new phone directly. The ad code appears to have been included alongside iOS 9.2.
Apple has used the App Store for advertising new iPhones and iPads before, but this is markedly more aggressive and intrusive direct marketing. iOS device users must press the ‘Skip’ button to get back to what they were doing.
In the past, Apple has featured the iPhone 6s a a small banner for instance or created device-targeted collections of apps to show in the Featured rotations — such as the ‘Enhanced with 3D Touch’ or ‘Great Apps for iPad Pro’ collections currently circulating the front pages.
There is a big difference between curated categories and full-screen advertisements that show without explicit user interaction. This is the first time Apple has used modal overlays (that interrupt what are you doing) to aggressively encourage upgrades.
It is easy to be seen why this is causing some angst in the community: any full-screen modal advertisement is annoying. This is frustrating for any iPhone user, who may be happy with their device as is and not interested in being marketed to whilst using their phone as normal.