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Wait, has Apple CEO Tim Cook really warned against 'excessive' smartphone use?

Wait, has Apple CEO Tim Cook really warned against 'excessive' smartphone use?

It seems a bit counterintuitive for someone who sells iPhones.

Apple CEO Tim Cook might be in the business of selling iPhones, but he's warned against our increasingly "excessive" use of smartphones.

Cook sat down with Dua Lipa for a bonus episode of the pop star's podcast At Your Service, covering everything from his childhood to AI - and our smartphone addiction.

"I think there is an excessive use of the smartphone - including the iPhone," Cook admitted to Lipa.

Brooks Kraft/Apple
Brooks Kraft/Apple

This is the reason Apple came out with the Screen Time setting - which tells you how much time you've been spending on your iPhone, and what you've been doing on it.

Cook said it's "similar to what you do on the [Apple] Watch, which promotes your ability to move more, burn more calories, stand more - but on the phone we're looking at that from the opposite point of view, and saying: do you really want to spend five hours a day on your phone? Or whatever the number might be."

Cook has been working at Apple since the late 90s, taking over from Steve Jobs as CEO in 2011. Earlier this year, the it became the first company to reach a $3 trillion market value - bolstered by the success of the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and more.

He told Lipa he learned one particularly important thing when he started using the Screen Time tool.

"The aha moment for me was how many notifications I was getting a day - I was embarrassed by the number," Cook said - and now, he catches up with a lot more at the end of the day.

"I don't need to know at the moment when something is happening," he said.

Dua Lipa Instagram
Dua Lipa Instagram

So what else did we learn from the Apple CEO on the podcast? Like so many other figures in tech, Cook is an early riser - he gets up at 4am to, among other things, look at his emails.

More unexpectedly, we learned that he used to play the trombone and wanted to be in a jazz band when he was younger.

Lipa also asked Cook about the future of AI. He said generative AI - for example, ChatGPT - is an area that "can be life-changing, in a good way, because it can do things like help diagnose a problem that you’re having from a health point of view.

"There’s a limitless number of things that AI can do. Unfortunately, it can also do not good things."

He continued: "What is needed with AI is some rules of the road, some regulation."

While governments are "a little behind the curve" with regulating AI, Cook suggested, "they're quickly catching up" - and he predicted we'll see AI regulation in the next 12 to 18 months.

Featured Image Credit: Justin Sullivan/Matt Cardy/Getty Images