New Apple App Guilts You Into Not Using Your Phone

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RUSH: Folks, this is absolutely amazing to me, and I made mention of it to the Official Program Observer, Bo Snerdley, while it happened. Yesterday Apple introduced their next operating system for iPhones and iPads and Macs and all their watches and so forth that will be released in September. They announce it to developers every June. It gives developers time to write apps for the new operating system so that when it releases in September, the apps can be updated and be current.

Well, at the most recent Apple shareholder meeting and even before that, there’s a large institutional investor in Apple, and one of the members is California STRS, which is the teachers retirement, PERS, the Public Employees’ Retirement System and California STRS, which is teachers and other things. They invest a lot of people, own a lot of Apple stock. And these people and a couple of other smaller groups sent Tim Cook, the CEO, a letter demanding that Apple do something about so many people using their iPhones so often.

This would be like sending Colonel Sanders a letter complaining about the number of chickens being killed, telling him to do something about it and serve less chicken. It would be like shareholders sending the CEO of Budweiser, “You know, too many people are drinking our product. Too many people are getting drunk drinking our product! You need to come up with a way to make sure they don’t drink as much so they don’t get drunk and you’ve gotta sell less.” Well, Apple did it! They’ve got a new app that’s gonna be released in September that will allow you to monitor your usage with the express purpose of using the phone less!

When I saw this — I mentioned to Snerdley that this was happening — and I could not believe it. I mean, it’s one thing if it’s the tobacco guys, but this is not the tobacco guys. So now we’ve got this meme that has sprung up that there is gadget addiction, smartphone addiction. People are not talking to each other enough. Instead, they’re doing nothing but texting and emailing and FaceTiming and all this. And Apple buckled to the pressure. Now, don’t misunderstand. This app, you don’t have to turn it on, and you can turn it off any time you want.

So it does not turn the phone off on you, and it doesn’t deactivate the phone. But what it does is bother you. It makes you feel guilty. You set the limits. “I only want to use the FaceTime app 18 hours today” or whatever you set. Well, when you get to 17.5 hours it sends you an alert, “You’ve only got 30 minutes left!” At 12 hours, it sends you an alert, “You have been using the FaceTime app 12 hours! Are you sure you want to continue?” It tries to guilt you into shutting down the phone. I could understand if a competitor was doing this (laughing), but Apple actually has released…

Obviously, Apple thinks there is much public relations ground to be gained here by responding to — and it’s a pretty big shareholder. It’s not Warren Buffett, but it’s a pretty big shareholder. Now, the shareholder — get this. After Apple announced this new app — Screen Time is what it’s called. I’ve got it. I’m playing with it. I’m running the beta. By the way, the beta of iOS 12 (laughing) runs faster than the release version of iOS 11.4. But don’t tell anybody I said that. They have really, really tightened it up. I mean, just aside from this stuff we’re talking about now. So, anyway, Cook announces they’re gonna introduce this app.

They show how you can set it to limit your use — and your kids.

It gives you control over your kids’ use of the phone, and you can shut them out. You can shut them down. You think the investor was happy? No! The investor says, “Well, it’s a good first step, but the problem here is that anybody can deactivate the app, rendering it useless.” It’s classic! You give a bunch of malcontents what they want, and they’re never happy, you never do enough for ’em, and they keep demanding.

When the software seminar was over yesterday Cook then went over and did an interview with CNN where he started talking about we gotta end this silly DACA stuff! We gotta stop trying to kick people out of the country. Apple also introduced a new app that the tech guys, the tech bloggers love it. It just depresses me because of what it means. And I don’t know if I’m gonna waste your time telling you about it, but if we have time to squeeze it in later since I’ve now teased it, I will do so. I mean, that’s just… It boggles my mind. Really.

Send Colonel Sanders a note, “You’re killing too many chickens; you’re serving too much chicken. You need to cut back because chicken has trans fat” or whatever, and having Colonel Sanders do it! If you think I’m missing the point on this, free will. I know a lot of people think there’s way too many people spending way too much time on these phones and it is an addiction. It would be much better for everybody if they put ’em down and started communicating one on one, person to person. Maybe so.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We’re gonna go over to Fort Myers, Florida, start with Sarah. Glad you called. What’s up?

CALLER: Hi, Rush! Yeah, I just wanted to comment on the Apple iPhone monitoring usage.

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: First off, I had an iPhone myself for years. I’m not gonna lie. I love my iPhone. But I am a pediatric speech language pathologist, and the concern thing for me is that I’m seeing such a rise in communication distorted with these kiddoes that are plugged into their devices all day long. And they’re kind of just modeling after their parents who they see do the same behavior. I’m just seeing an astounding number of these kiddoes that just need help with communication skills, with eye contact and just overall conversation.

RUSH: Let me see if I you understand. Because they’ve been using these devices for so long and in early, formative years, that the only human behavioral contact they can model is their parents, not people their own age. They communicate with people their own age via screens and an emoji, this kind of thing, and they’re not developing interpersonal communication skills. Is that what you’re finding?

RUSH: Let me ask you a question. Do you look at the things that they are writing as they communicate with other people on devices?

CALLER: I’m not even necessarily suggesting that they’re communicating with other people via FaceTime or things like that. It might just be games that they’re playing —

RUSH: No, no, no!

CALLER: — or even educational things.

RUSH: Okay, now… I’m not setting you up. Let me be more specific.

CALLER: Okay.

RUSH: Say if it’s a text messaging app, they’re writing messages to somebody.

CALLER: True.

RUSH: Are they not able to verbalize those messages? Like if I text you, “Hey, hey, Sarah, what’s going on? I’m glad you called today. Great to have heard from you.”

CALLER: Mmm-hmm. Okay.

RUSH: If I’m one of these kids, would I not be able to say that to you even though I’ve written it to you?

CALLER: Yes. Yes. Well, absolutely. But the disconnect that I see is that they will give the technology — whatever it is, an iPad or an iPhone — precedence over the human being that’s standing in front of them. And that’s just a behavior that they’ve seen throughout so many grown-ups in society, and they just have modeled that behavior and think, “Well, that’s appropriate.”

RUSH: Wait a minute. Whoa, whoa, hold on. They’re learning it from the parents, not the devices?

CALLER: Correct. Yes.

RUSH: So why will be separating them from their devices…? If their parents keep using theirs, how is that gonna help?

CALLER: Well, you make a good point. (laughing) That’s basically what I bring the families in and discuss with them, which is, “I’m not gonna tell you not to use the things. It’s 2018.”

RUSH: But you are. You actually want to get everybody use them less. If the parents use them less, then maybe the kids will follow.

CALLER: Well, or, I’m just suggesting that they model good conversation behavior. Someone comes up and you’re on a device, put the device down.

RUSH: Why am I able to do it? I’m not being facetious. I can text —

CALLER: (laughing)

RUSH: I don’t play games with people, but my primary means of communicating is written text ’cause of my hearing problem on the phone. But I meet people in person.

CALLER: Right. (laughing)

RUSH: They’re dazzled and I can talk to ’em easy. It’s not a problem. Why am I not affected by this? Is it the cause I learned how to communicate when I was a kid first?

CALLER: It’s your charming personality. No. I think so. But I think when they look around and they see that their mom and dad, they come up and say, “Mom,” and mom’s texting someone or mom’s —

RUSH: Ah, this puts it in perspective.

CALLER: — you know, searching the net or whatever, then that’s the message they get, which is that’s more important than the human being that’s in front of me.

RUSH: Interesting. Well, now, you’ve thrown a new wrinkle into this. All this time, I thought people were blaming the devices for this. Okay, cool.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This is Steve in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Glad you called, sir. How are you?

CALLER: (static, garbled cell) I’m terrific, Rush. Thanks. Technology dittos from Hilton Head. I have a point… I’ve actually (unintelligible) a brilliant marketing idea. I want to ask you something. If I can convince you that it’s brilliant, I have a favor to ask actually for one of my daughters. Will you consider it?

RUSH: Wait a minute. You’re cutting out. You want me…? You want to convince me that this is a brilliant thing and if you can convince me you have a favor for one of your daughters you want me to…?

CALLER: The favor is to be able to say her Instagram name so she can get lots of followers using the power of your radio program.

RUSH: Jeez. I don’t know about that.

CALLER: All right.

RUSH: I don’t do social media myself. People ask me to follow them on Twitter, and I never, ever do that. But look. Let’s play it out. I don’t know what —

CALLER: Okay. Three quick points. The first point is that your analogy isn’t quite accurate. Apple makes money from selling their phones. If you’re using ScreenTime, you’ve already bought their phone. That’s not the same thing as Budweiser or KFC saying don’t buy our product.

RUSH: True!

CALLER: So it doesn’t really cost them anything to take the position they’re taking. So that’s the first point.

RUSH: True.

CALLER: The second point is that Apple can appeal to those who are anti-technology, touchy-feely types by supposedly taking the, quote, “high road” by putting principles over profit, without it costing them anything. (chuckling) I mean, that’s brilliant, right? The third point is that this will really appeal to parents to buy these phones for their kids, if they think that they can control how much their kids are gonna wind up using their phones.

RUSH: All three points are very persuasive. I’m not… I don’t deny any of that. The only point that I might take just a slight bit of disagreement with is that Apple has a rising source of income called the services area of their business, and that does depend on people using their devices and paying money for it. But that probably would be negligible. I agree with you it’s a PR move, because you can disable this. You know, with one tap of the screen, you can disable the whole thing.

CALLER: Right. Right. So I won’t use it because I’m a technology wonk, but a lot of people would think this is the right thing to do, and they’ll maybe even switch phones and go to Apple because they’re the company that cares about its customers more than money.

RUSH: I can’t deny that. I think you’re probably 100% right on this in the way they are thinking about it, especially when nobody else appears to be doing anything to tackle the, quote-unquote, “problem” of phone addiction.

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: Okay, so now your daughter’s Instagram name. You want me to do what?

CALLER: Well, I’ll just say it if you want. I was really asking you to say it. She wants me to say it because she’ll get followers. I have seen three beautiful daughters Rachel Jordan and Sarah, 21, 19, and 16.

RUSH: Yeah?

CALLER: And they have constant battles over who can get the most followers. So when I texted them and told them I might get on Rush’s talk show my oldest one took that opportunity to text me and say, “Get ’em to say or say my Instagram name to get followers.”

RUSH: So this would be Sarah, then? She’s your oldest?

CALLER: Actually, Rachel. She’s the oldest.

RUSH: Rachel’s the oldest. So she was the smart one; she asked for the Rush plug?

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: And so since she asked, you think you can do this while not spreading it equally around the other two daughters?

CALLER: Well, I believe in rewarding effort. (laughing) So —

RUSH: Hey, I’m all for it. She’s the one that showed the initiative.

CALLER: Exactly.

RUSH: You know, you’re never gonna get anything sometimes if you don’t ask for it.

CALLER: That’s right, and I have two daughters right now listening that are probably pulling their hair out. But… (laughing)

RUSH: All right. Well, what is Rachel’s Instagram name. Go ahead. You know, I have a hearing problem; I may not even hear it as you say it. So what is it?

CALLER: So her name is Rachel Elizabeth, and so her Instagram name, she uses the e-l from Rachel and Elizabeth, so there’s only one e-l. So her Instagram name is Rachelizabeth.S as in Sam. Rachelizabeth.S, R-a-c-h-e-l-i-z-a-b-e-t-h.S.

RUSH: Okay. Well, we’re gonna shut something down — probably already have — by doing this but she will no doubt see a surge. That’s a pretty big favor. And it’s a first. Nobody’s ever asked that before. I have had people say, “Hey, would you list me as one of the places on Twitter that you follow?” I said, “No, no. I can’t answer that floodgate.” But since you did it in the spirit of acknowledging the aggressive efforts of your daughter to become famous, then I’m more than happy to let you do it.

So we’ll see. I wish her the best. (chuckling) Just be ready, because you’re gonna get things from all across the spectrum now, Steve. You’re gonna learn what thick skin is ’cause you’re gonna need it. Anyway, I appreciate the call. Thanks much. If you’re just joining, Apple has a new app coming in their new software they release in September, which is called Screen Time, which will help you as parents eliminate the amount of time your kid can spend on the phone — and you if you want to limit yourself. It’s a series of settings and alarms and so forth. It’s a PR move.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We have a couple of more calls on the Apple app here. I’m looking at the call screener roster. There’s somebody up there thinks I’m an idiot. That’s unusual. We never get calls like that. You found one. Which is cool! Don’t misunderstand. So let me stick with this for just a couple of minutes. South Central Texas, Sherry. Welcome. Great to have you here. Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. I don’t think Screen Time is a PR move to help Apple help parents. I think that’s ridiculous. I think it’s a PR move to cover Apple’s tush, is what I think. And I know when I was a kid, I could tune out my parents really easily, and they didn’t hold… I didn’t copy everything they did. What held my attention was TV for kids. Something bright and exciting and animated. That was so much easier to focus on than parents. Now, my kiddo is 45, and he started college back there in early nineties, 1990s.

He’s been on a cell phone now… That’s when they kind of started coming in for my child. So it’s been 25 years, and there’s been talk, and if — if — there are any physical or physiological dangers regarding the use, the overuse of cell phones, then this is time to look at it, because Apple has never given the public adequate warning. But we hear things. And there’s talk out there. There was talk in independent radio — and you’re a truth seeker too. It’s time now to start seeing, if there’s gonna be problems with the use of a cell phone at your ear and — and —

RUSH: Are you talking about medical problem, you know, like cancer and this kind of thing?

CALLER: Yeah, I’m talking about physical problems like things that are out there like brain tumors, narcolepsy for yes young children if you start them too young. They may be more advanced readers, but I don’t know. Having that… What kind of energy is it? It’s like a microwave energy, isn’t it, in their face all day? That stuff’s dangerous. I think that they want to make sure, that Apple wants to make sure that if any physical problems start to arise, and this would be the time they’re gonna start, Apple won’t be liable.

RUSH: I see.

CALLER: People could take responsibility for their dangerous use.

RUSH: I find this… Folks… Sherry, I appreciate the call. I find it fascinating the way people think about this. We’ve had three calls on this and three different takes on what Apple is doing, and not one of these three overlaps. This one — Sherry here — things that Apple is in a CYA because phones cause physical problems, may cause cancer. All that microwave and other radio radiation from all the different radios in the phone whacking you with this frequency and that and these microwaves and microwaves and all this other stuff.

And Apple knows it, and this is simply a face-saving effort to try to make you think they care. But they want you to keep using the phone. They just don’t want to be found liable when you get sick. Now, this cell phones causing cancer thing? This has been out there almost as long as climate change and global warming. I’ve known some people who I thought were otherwise brilliant who believed there might be something to this because they knew somebody who was on the phone all the time and got sick. It’s like my question on evolution.

If we evolved from the apes, then why are there still apes? If cell phones cause massive illnesses, why are the instances so few and so rare? I mean, everybody — a lot of people — use these phones constantly and have for a long time and are not showing any signs of illness. (interruption) Now, look. Even Snerdley is looking at me with a wary eye. Are you in on this belief…? (interruption) All right. Okay. Now, the second caller thought, “Hey, this is brilliant marketing. Apple doesn’t make any money from you using the phone.

“They’ve made their money after they’ve sold it to you. It’s a brilliant PR move to make parents think they’re actually doing something to keep their kids off the phone. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.” The first caller was somewhat close to that but thought it was also a good thing. She was a speech professional who found people unable to communicate if they’d started early enough in life using these phones. See, I knew when I was thinking about this today…

I knew that it was gonna light up the phones, like talking about education does. If you introduce education as something we’re talking about, it can light up the phones for a week, depending on how you do. You need a certain kind of genius to be able to do these things — which, of course, I possess. We have (let’s see) one more on this. Let’s do this so that we can then move along. This is Tim in Tomahawk, Wisconsin. Hey, Tim, how are you?

CALLER: (road noise) Very good, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.

RUSH: Yes, sir.

CALLER: (wind blowing)

RUSH: Where are you, by the way, Tim? Are you in a draft traveling over the open road or something?

CALLER: Yes, sir. I pretty much cover over a hundred miles waiting to get on.

RUSH: That’s interesting. It sounds like road noise to me. Anyway, I’m glad that you’re here. What’s your take on this?

CALLER: Well, I think the people who are for this app are the parents who are just trying to ease their conscience for not teaching their kids any responsibility, and they can’t tell ’em to reduce their time on the phone. So they’re just gonna leave it up to Apple to provide an app that’s supposed to help them self-control themselves when they never taught ’em how to self-control themselves to begin with.

RUSH: I appreciate that. Okay. Fourth different take in four different callers. This guy thinks (laughing) that Apple is gonna have success with the app because parents don’t have the guts to tell their kids “no,” do not have… Because parents want to be their kids’ friends and don’t have the guts to take the phone away from them or limit their usage. So Apple is coming to save the day by doing the job certain parents just don’t have the guts to do anymore.

(interruption) Oh, they all have elements of truth. I mean, there’s a lot of people that believe in physical health risk posed by cell phones. There’s a lot of people think that. All of these different four takes on this app have a lot of people who would probably agree with all or part of every different response that we’ve had to this. You know, I’m looking at the app here. It’s in the settings, and it’s called Screen Time. You can set the amount of time per app, and you can do this, if you’re a family sharing plan or maybe not even that.

You can do this if you control your kids’ phone. If you’re paying for what’s on your kids’ phone, then you can limit the time they spend on certain apps. And once time is reached, that app will not load, unless you turn this off. You’ll get notifications when you’re 30 minutes away from your limit that you have self-imposed. You can do this by app. You can do it on the phone overall in general. You can exempt certain apps and not subject them to any limit. You can limit it by the day, by the week. And it’s not complicated at all. In fact, they’ve rewritten the battery app to look much like this in terms of studying your battery usage per app and how much time it’s lighting up the screen, how much time it isn’t. It’s pretty comprehensive.

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