Apple begins to send unwanted push notifications to iPhone users, including those designed to promote their own Carpool Karaoke show – even if the Apple TV app never explicitly requests permission to send advertisements and even if Apple's App Store Policies prohibit developers from sending unwanted campaigns.
We're not sure how many iPhone users received the alerts, but it seems that Apple has tried to plug its show at least twice in the past few weeks: once on December 7th for an episode where Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin grilled each other using a lie detective test, and once on December 1
Some people are not happy:
Why did Apple just send me a message about a brand new carpool karaoke, something I've never seen and have absolutely no interest in?
1) I have never seen an episode of carpool karaoke
2) I'm not kidding any Kardashian or Jenner.
3) I have never used the iPhone TV app
– (@meagan_wilcox) December 8, 2018
As for the development rules, Apple appears to be in violation of the App Store Policy – Section 4.5.3 – which explicitly informs developers not to "spam, phish, or send unwanted messages to customers." Apple did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Of course, this is just a notification setting problem that can be resolved quite quickly. You can either turn off all TV app notifications by swiping the notification yourself and pressing "manage" or you can dig into your notification settings through the general settings app and customize them from there.
The message spam is also not isolated on TV. If you're a part of the iPhone Upgrade program, you may have received a print alert you've never signed up to inform you about upgrading to the latest iPhone. Apple did it earlier this month, apparently to promote iPhone XR, although some users report having seen the alert also last year. Although it's more understandable – if you're a part of the program, it's useful to know that you're eligible for an upgrade – the language around the notice and its suggestion that "your new iPhone is ready" works specifically designed to make you buy something. It's an ad explained as a useful tip.
Both of these new examples are less intrusive than the most famous Apple push alert, which informed more than 500 million people whom Apple had bought and gave them a free copy of U2's Songs of Innocence . The move, allegedly costing Apple more than $ 100 million, proved so unpopular that Apple created a special removal process and supports website to help anger users get rid of it for good. But it's these types of actions that undermine the trust Apple has built with its customers.
If you're getting spam push from @Apple about new episodes of Carpool Karaoke is a sign of the company's television strategy, we're out for a hard trip.
– Tim Schmitz (@TimSchmitz) December 7, 2018
Now it is understandable that Apple may want to plug its own show. Over the last couple of years, Apple's CEO Tim Cook has said that the company's service sector is the future as iPhone sales stagnate. Clearly, Apple will sell customers, not just hardware that works in their ecosystem – like Airpods, HomePod, and Apple Watch – but also a bundle of software services that may require a monthly subscription.
Apple Music is already a viable Spotify competitor, but Apple is late for streaming TV, a market that has been trying to break since it began selling TV shows and movies via iTunes. But I would be curious if Apple actually helps with these plugs. Although these messages are easy to reject, people tend to hate unwanted garbage on the phone.