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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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Netflix Not to Integrate its Services with Apple Streaming Platform

Netflix won't be part of Apple streaming platform

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

Ahead of the launch of Apple’s streaming service, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said his company will not integrate its services with the upcoming platform.

“Apple’s a great company. (But) we want to have people watch our content on our service, and so we have chosen not to integrate into their services,” Hastings said at a press event here on Monday.

The comment precedes Apple’s impending formal announcement to take a deep-dive into the competitive technology-driven world of over-the-top (OTT) entertainment with a set of its own original shows, as well as plans to resell other subscription services like Starz and Showtime as part of its service.

Asked how Netflix can compete with companies like Apple and Amazon that have deep pockets, Hastings said: “With difficulty.”

“You do your best job when you have great competitors. They do a good job, I am going to be envious. They are going to come up with great ideas, I am going to want to borrow those…

“We will make this a great industry if we have great competitors and those companies will be amazing competitors in addition to the ones that we have now,” Hastings told reporters here.

Netflix.

Talking specifically on the competition with Amazon, Hastings said: “For the last 20 years, we have grown. We have got many competitors. We have been competing with Amazon for many years. They are reported to be spending $4-5 billion a year or so on content.

“We spend about twice that. Now, new companies are coming… There’s Disney+, WarnerMedia.

“They (the parent companies) have been in the business for a long time, and we compete with all kinds of entertainment time already. Sometimes we think of YouTube as a great partner, sometimes as a competitor. It’s the same with all of these,” he added.

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“Our success doesn’t determine their success. And what matters is to do amazing content that people love watching and sharing,” Hastings noted.

Apple is gearing up for its mega event on March 25 at the Steve Jobs theatre on its Cupertino, California-based campus, during which the tech giant is expected to announce its much-awaited video streaming service. (IANS)