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After years of parents calling for Apple to come up with a kid-friendly user profile for its best selling devices such as the iPad and iPhone, it appears that the tech giant has finally given in. Obtaining patent protection last week for what it describes as, “Method, apparatus and system for access mode control of a device”, Apple seems to be exploring ways for users to limit device access to kids.
The new technology will allow owners to give different levels of access to different users of their devices. A simple change of settings will make it so that iPad and iPhone users can, for instance, unlock only parent approved kids apps and games. It is thought that this new addition will finally equip parents with a way to set up user profiles, those for themselves and those for their kids, who often share the same devices.
Beyond the locking and restriction of access to certain device functions, the new patent also allows for voice, keyboard, and stylus commands to control various functions. This means that kids who cannot spell or read might be able to say a simple word command to access the iPad or iPhone profile that their parents have set up for them.
The possibilities for the new invention are already swirling, with commentators noting that this could pave the way for widespread iPad use in schools. With the teacher in charge of the settings, the teacher could theoretically block access to non-school related apps and only allow students to work on apps that are for school. Parents could also have more control over what types of apps their kids access at different times, perhaps allowing educational and learning applications during the week and game apps on the weekend.
Whatever the specific implication of the new addition, one thing is clear – Apple has finally gotten the message that parents want to have more control over what their kids can do on their Apple devices. Perhaps the recent parental outcry of complaints that Apple received for not requiring a password before making App Store purchases has stirred a response. In that controversy, parents panned Apple for failing to require a password to be entered before every single purchase, claiming that their kids were racking up their bills buying add-ons and apps available through the App Store. Now that it seems parents will have a way to restrict this kind of behavior by their kids, Apple might be able to get back in the good graces of techie parents.
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(Intellectual Property News.com)
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