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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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Apple, Spotify Podcasts Now Availabe on Amazon Echo Lineup

With this, the Echo line up from Amazon becomes with the first third-party clients to support the Apple Podcasts service without using AirPlay

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Amazon
It's also interesting that Apple is ceding some of its HomePod functionality to Amazon. Pixabay

Apple and Swedish streaming giant Spotify’s podcasts are now available on Amazon’s Echo line up of devices.

“Apple Podcasts can be set as the default podcast player from the Alexa app, too, so Amazon will default to checking Apple Podcasts first whenever a show is requested. Spotify also announced today that its users would be able to ask Alexa to play podcasts from its platform,” The Verge reported on Friday.

With this, the Echo line up from Amazon becomes with the first third-party clients to support the Apple Podcasts service without using AirPlay.

It’s also interesting that Apple is ceding some of its HomePod functionality to Amazon.

The HomePod offers syncing with Apple Podcasts, which was unique and potentially a selling point. Now that anyone can access Apple Podcasts from any Alexa device, the HomePod is less special, the report added.

Amazon
Apple and Swedish streaming giant Spotify’s podcasts are now available on Amazon’s Echo line up of devices. Wikimedia Commons

Notably, Spotify Premium users were earlier able to use Spotify Connect to stream to Echo.

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But now, the Swedish streaming giant says that both Free and Premium customers in the US will be able to ask Alexa for podcasts as well as set Spotify as their default player. (IANS)