By Alisha Haridasani
Apple plans to introduce software that will reportedly help habitual iPhone users spend less time glued to their smartphones, a shift away from the company’s efforts to keep people more reliant on its hardware.
The company is expected to unveil its Digital Health initiative at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference next week in San Jose, Bloomberg reported. The tools, bundled with the new iOS mobile operating system, help monitor how much time people spend on their phones.
The Digital Health tools are likely a response to concerns raised by two of the company's shareholders in January about the possibly addictive nature of some smartphone apps, particularly among children. “We believe there is a clear need for Apple to offer parents more choices and tools to help them ensure that young consumers are using their products in an optimal manner,” the shareholders said in an open letter.
Apple’s decision to encourage people to put down the company’s most popular product may seem counterintuitive, but it may also point towards a future business strategy for Apple that is more reliant on its services business, which includes Apple Music and iCloud.
The iPhone accounted for more than 60 percent of Apple's revenue in Q2, but growth in sales have slowed in the past few years. Apple’s services, however, are starting to generate more revenue, surpassing revenue from iPads, Macs, and other accessories, such as Apple Watch and Apple TV.
Apple has tried to boost subscriptions for its Music service and has invested in producing original content, as competition with Spotify and Netflix heats up.