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Polished System of Apple Takes on Smartphone Addiction

Apple has been working to ramp up revenue from services and digital content such as music and movies, but most of the cash it takes in comes from iPhone sales

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Apple, Iphone XR, Apple Watch
Try these fitness apps on Apple Watch Series 4 for marathon season. Flickr Commons

Apple’s polished iPhone line-up comes with tools to help users dial back their smartphone obsessions, amid growing concerns over “addiction” and harmful effects on children.

An iOS 12 mobile operating system that will power new iPhones unveiled on Wednesday, and be pushed out as an update to prior models, has new features to reduce how much they distract people from the real world.

Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said of iOS 12 at a developers conference earlier this year the new system offers “detailed information and tools” to help users and parents keep tabs on device use.

A new “Screen Time” tool generates activity reports showing how often people pick up their iPhones or iPads, how long they spend in apps or at websites, and numbers of notifications received.

Users will be able to set limits on time spent in apps. Parents will be able to get activity reports from their children’s iPhones or iPads, and impose time limits on apps from games and news to social media and messaging.

Apple
A demonstration of the newly released Apple products is seen following the product launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S. Sept. 12, 2018. (VOA)

The operating system will also allow people to designate “down time” when iPhones or iPads can’t be used — perhaps a child’s bedtime or a grown-up’s meditation hour.

Activist investor Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), which both have stakes in Apple, early this year called on the company to give parents more tools to ensure children are using its devices in ways that aren’t hurting them.

The investors reasoned that doing so would pose no threat to Apple, because the company makes the bulk of its money selling devices, not from how much people use them.

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Apple has been working to ramp up revenue from services and digital content such as music and movies, but most of the cash it takes in comes from iPhone sales.

The letter cited a growing body of evidence that excessive smartphone use may be having negative consequences on young people.

A study of teachers found the vast majority felt smartphones were a growing distraction at schools, eroding the ability of students to focus in class and a seeming cause of social and emotional difficulties. (IANS)

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Tech Giant Apple Pledges to Alert Users on iPhone Performance

Apple has agreed to do this both for current and future iPhones

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Apple, Campus, China
A customer is entering the Apple store in Fairfax, Virginia. VOA

Apple has committed to be clearer and more upfront with iPhone users about battery health and performance, the UK’s competition watchdog has said.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had raised consumer law concerns with the Cupertino-based tech giant last year after finding people were not being warned clearly that their phone’s performance could slow down following a 2017 software update designed to manage demands on the battery.

“The CMA became concerned that people might have tried to repair their phone or replace it because they weren’t aware the software update had caused the handset to slow down,” the watchdog said in a statement on late Wednesday.

In addition, people were not able to easily find information about the health of their phone’s battery, which can degrade over time.

After the CMA raised its concerns, Apple started to be more up front with iPhone users.

Apple, chinese
This Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, photo shows from left the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone XR in New York. The new XR phone has a larger display and loses the home button to make room for more screen. VOA

“But today’s announcement locks the firm into formal commitments always to notify people when issuing a planned software update if it is expected to materially change the impact of performance management on their phones,” the watchdog added.

Apple will also provide easily accessible information about battery health and unexpected shutdowns, along with guidance on how iPhone users can maximise the health of their phone’s battery.

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This could help people improve the performance of their own handset after a planned software update by, for example, changing settings, adopting the low power mode or replacing the battery – rather than resorting to having their phone repaired or replaced.

Apple has agreed to do this both for current and future iPhones. (IANS)