I recently read two interesting posts on this subject — one from GigaOM and another from Gartner’s Avivah Litan. Both posts talk about Apple’s recent rejections of apps using the UDID (unique identification number) on iPhones/iPads.
The lead issue here is likely related to privacy. As the GigaOM posting pointed out, the UDID can be used to provide app developers with tracking data, and ad networks with information to aid in building profiles. These profiles are used to help the ad networks better target individuals with relevant ads.
If Apple is, indeed, rejecting apps that utilize the UDID, then it will be interesting to see what alternatives arise. In the post, “Apple’s rejection of UDIDs will drive adoption of alternatives,” Litan points out that there will be alternatives that will step in. Furthermore, she mentions that it should not only include the UDID, but also other workarounds, especially if it is privacy at the heart of the issue.
One thing I find interesting from an authentication standpoint, UDIDs could be leveraged as another factor (e.g., in combination with a username/password and/or PIN etc.). But with so many app developers and ad networks utilizing the UDID, Apple likely needed to react to fend off privacy concerns. Oh, the interesting balance of technology, privacy and security!