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Latest Apple tool is just the start of limiting technology

The new Apple phone will feature a tool that automatically disables notifications at night. (Apple)

Think for a moment. Except for the apocalypse, is there anything scarier than misplacing your phone? I doubt it.

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The phone is your wallet, calendar, alarm clock, cable package, relationship tracker, and compass.

Now, because they’re so universally addictive, smartphones have spawned a new technology of limits.

Apple announced Monday that its new operating system would come with built-in tools to stop you from using your phone too much. That includes a “do not disturb” mode that can start automatically at bedtime and hold all your alerts ‘til morning. It will also show a precise weekly report of your total time spent staring at the screen, like a radiation dosimeter.

I sense in this the birth of a whole new industry based on limits. Intelligent, traffic-sensing cars that will only start if there is actually room for you on the road. Happy Meals packed in boxes that can’t be opened until you’re really hungry. A supermarket self-checkout that grabs the chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches out of your shopping cart and returns them to the freezer case until you lose the weight.

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Maybe the day will come when the internet simply shuts down at midnight like TV stations used to do. You see a test pattern, they play the “Star Spangled Banner,” and then everything smart just goes dark until morning.

Be sure to stand, by the way.

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