Apple's Investors Are Asking It To Make iPhones Less Addictive For Kids & Be More Responsible

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Apple didn’t have a great ending to last year, facing multiple class action lawsuits for slowing down iPhones with older batteries. Now it seems 2018 isn’t going to be much nicer to the company, if it’s latest investor briefing is anything to go by.

Images courtesy: Reuters

Two major investors in Apple, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and Jana Partners (who together own about $2 billion of the company’s stock) are pressuring Tim Cook and his firm to do more to combat the addictiveness of iPhones, and smartphones in general.

The investors have been quoting a number of studies in an open letter to Apple this past weekend, that link excessive smartphone use to inattentiveness in class, insufficient sleep, and a higher risk of depression and suicide. The two investors have demanded Apple “set an example about the obligations of technology companies to their youngest customers.” 

In order to tackle the issue, the shareholders have requested Apple to add more in-depth parental controls to its iPhones, allowing parents to limit how much their children can use the devices, as well as what sort of content they can access.

Tim Cook Apple CEO

REUTERS

“Apple can play a defining role in signaling to the industry that paying special attention to the health and development of the next generation is both good business and the right thing to do,” the letter added.

Their main complaint is that, while Apple has parental controls of a sort right now, it only has the option to either allow full access or almost none at all, by shutting down entire functions. 

Of course, there’s no certainty Apple will actually take up and follow through with such a plan. While the two investors involved do own big stakes in the company, it’s relatively small compared to Apple’s total market cap of $900 billion. Apple, meanwhile, has yet to respond to the letter and lay out a possible plan of action.

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