Apple Inc. introduced features to help iPhone users put down their phones - at least temporarily - after criticism over claims people were addicted to the company's flagship device and following similar moves to combat smartphone addiction by competitors.
Apple executives unveiled features at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday that they said would increase user privacy and "digital wellness", but also appear to be a shot Facebook's data-dependent business. The Facebook Pixel that allows websites to "optimise" data about individuals is on a further 2.2 million sites. With App Limits, Apple's also going to expand some of its parental controls, so parents can restrict how long their kids spend in certain apps, or certain types of apps.
Apple's proprietary Stocks app for iPhone will also be coming to iPad with iOS 12 featuring an all-new format and design on the bigger screen.
Apple is also adding a page for users to see apps are sending you the most notifications. The update will work on any Apple device that is now capable of running iOS 11, which includes iPhone 5s and iPad Air and later. You'll get info including how long you're spending inside your apps and which apps send you the most notifications. There's also native podcast and background audio support.
Set for full release this fall, the company's mobile operating system is now in developer preview, with a public beta expected later this month. Most of it is deeply wonky stuff, like Apple's new augmented reality features which will allow you to precisely measure things or deep learning tech that figures out which photos you and your friend took at the same party.
One report says that Apple will reveal a "Digital Health" feature for iOS 12 today. Video of users who are now talking will be displayed most prominently on screen, this changes dynamically as other people carry the conversation.
The changes in Safari will apply when Apple's next-generation operating systems roll out widely later this year.
Apple has also introduced the ability to make group FaceTime calls.
Meanwhile in January, two of Apple's major shareholders, Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, who own a $US2 billion stake in Apple, published an open letter asking the company to address the issue of phone addiction among children.
The Apple CEO's comments come even as iOS 12 and macOS Mojave will come with increased privacy and security for users.
To more cheers from developers, Apple also announced a redesigned Mac App Store for the Mojave update, expanding a new look the company introduced to iPhones and iPads previous year.
The FaceTime video calling app can now also support group video calls for up to 32 people. Couples often pass their phones back and forth as a matter of practicality, and parents often let their children use their phones to play games and check out apps. Users are able to set parameters for when the bedtime mode starts and ends in the control center.