Apple has officially responded to an open letter published by JANA Partners LLC and the Californian State Teachers’ Retirement System.
The two entities, which collectively own approximately $2 billion in value of Apple Shares, published the letter titled “Think Differently About Kids” in order to try and coerce Apple into making changes around its Parental Control system in iOS.
As part of its response to the open letter, as initially reported by The Wall Street Journal, Apple has gone on record as stating that it plans to update, extend, and add in additional software features that would hopefully look to make its current parental controls “even more robust” than they currently are now. There is currently no granular information on what Apple will be planning on doing or how it plans to make its parental controls in iOS more robust but it’s great to know that the company is at least taking the investor feedback seriously:
We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them. We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids.
Apple has also pointed out that every iPhone that it sells currently comes equipped with a set of parental control settings which can allow a parent to block or ban “effectively anything” that a child could potentially use the device to access online via iOS. It seems that those features haven’t been enough to prevent the aforementioned investors from putting together this open letter to Apple but there could also be an element of misunderstanding here of how the parental control system works and just how sophisticated it has become over the years.
Still, Apple has now replied publicly suggesting that it will look to try and do more. It remains to be seen if a representative of Apple has attempted to contact “Dr. Rich, Professor Twenge, or any member of JANA’s board of advisors” directly, as requested in the open letter.
We’re looking forward to seeing exactly how Apple plans to improve this part of iOS and how it plans to make things more secure and safe for children using an iOS-powered iPhone.
It’s likely that the aforementioned improved parental control features will be rolled out either as part of iOS 11.3, or iOS 12 release.
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