Tech giant Apple is sending out push notifications for its deeply annoying Carpool Karaoke show—a standalone spin on a The Late Late Show with James Corden segment which was released last year to terrible reviews—the Verge reported on Tuesday, in seeming disregard of its own policies on unsolicited promotional material.
The Verge wrote that some users have been receiving the unwanted messages, which urge them to tune in to see Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, comedian Jason Sudeikis, and the Muppets, for weeks via the iOS TV app:
We’re not sure how many iPhone users received the notifications, but it looks like Apple has tried plugging its show at least twice in recent weeks: once on December 7th for an episode where Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin grill each other using a lie detector test, and once on December 14 for an episode featuring joint singalongs with comedian Jason Sudeikis and the Muppets.
— Lex (@Just_John10) December 8, 2018
Got a phone notification telling me about the new carpool karaoke with Kendall Jenner, I don’t know why I got this since I truly don’t give a fuck
— Priceless (@PricelessTheOne) December 8, 2018
If getting spam push notifications from @Apple about new episodes of Carpool Karaoke is a sign of the company’s tv strategy, we’re in for a rough ride. ????
— Tim Schmitz (@TimSchmitz) December 7, 2018
That services narrative looks a lot sketchier if it relies on the same growth hack trickery Apple forbids other people from using
— nilay patel (@reckless) December 15, 2018
As the Verge noted, the App Store’s policies specifically tell developers not to “spam, phish, or send unsolicited messages to customers,” adding in the next section:
Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used for advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes or to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.
The TV app also does not “expressly” ask for permission to send promotional messages, the Verge added. Per 9to5Mac, “almost everyone received the Kendall Jenner Carpool Karaoke alert, even if they had expressed no interest in the Carpool Karaoke series.”
However, it’s easy to disable push notifications in the app’s settings, or change which pushes get through in general in the iOS settings.
Apple has previously sent out push notifications urging users to purchase newer models of iPhone—though as Cult of Mac wrote, it only did for those who had opted in to the iPhone Upgrade Program—and it infamously blew an estimated $US100 ($139) million plus purchasing a U2 album for hundreds of millions of iTunes users in 2014, forcing it to issue a guide on how to delete it. Sending out push notifications for banal celebrity streaming filler may not be quite as aggressive as the first, but it definitely has some echoes of the latter.
The tech company is in the process of shifting gears from a company primarily built on device sales to one which is supported by a growing list of software services, reportedly including a streaming service that specialises mostly in family-friendly content. So if this is a harbinger of things to come, don’t be surprised if Apple starts reminding you to watch its latest Peanuts content. According to 9to5Mac, other recent push notifications from Apple have announced HomePod promotions for Apple Music subscribers, App Store discounts, and Amazon Echo support.
We’ve reached out to Apple for comment, and will update this post if we hear back.