Oil companies thought Apple mobility data was 'the holy grail' of data, they were wrong
What you need to know
- A report has revealed how oil companies thought they could use Apple's mobility data to predict gasoline consumption.
- Turns out, they were wrong.
- That's because mobility data uses search information, not miles traveled.
A Reuters report has revealed how oil companies thought they could use Apple's mobility data to predict oil consumption.
When Apple launched its mobility data to help better understand the spread of COVID-19 and the enforcement of stay-at-home measures, oil companies thought they had found "the holy grail" of metrics:
Turns out, they were wrong. U.S. Memorial day came and went, and the mobility data did not match up with consumption. Thanks in-part to built-in privacy, the mobility data actually served no purpose to the oil companies. That's because the mobility data is based not on the number of miles traveled (a key figure for gasoline consumption), but rather on the number of searches made on Maps. It doesn't matter how many people are driving on a particular day if their car is only traveling a hundred yards.
One investment manager noted that the data does not correlate as well to demand as some other indexes, but that the trend of using real-time data would be there to stay:
Apple's mobility data, however, will only be available for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, as noted by Apple's website. (opens in new tab)
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9