The Age Of Glancing

Mighty Things

For the Connected World

The Age Of Glancing

The developer base for the Apple Watch is definitely enthusiastic. Just this Tuesday, Apple Watch-focused site WatchAware cataloged more than 3,700 approved Watch apps. While interacting with some of those Apps, we realized that many of them are actually not so good: too complex, too demanding or just simply missing the point.

Smartwatches are not phones, and your Apple Watch will never be your iPhone. Wrapping your mobile app into a tiny screen on someone’s wrist is tempting but fraught with risks. The Watch is all about screen-scarcity, limited interactions and glimpse-based attention. Even the concept of notifications is different from the phone experience. It’s all about this two or three seconds test that can provide us values without entirely disrupting our attention. Welcome to the age of glancing, an age that will redefine how we use our mobile phones.

On that topic, writer and novelist Matt Gemmell wrote a fascinating piece on how the Apple Watch changed his relationship with other devices.

The Watch’s size, and the need to raise your wrist, discourages prolonged reading, which automatically makes you filter what you deal with. On the iPhone, or any of its ancestors further up the tree, the default mode of response is now. On the Watch, it’s later.

It’s difficult to explain how profound a change that is. Even in a handful of days, I’ve found that my iPhone has joined the MacBook as the “computer in the other room”, almost as if the hierarchy of devices has shifted up a level.

The Watch encourages what’s presumably the most desirable and productive pattern of behavior: a glance, possibly a brief acknowledgement via (at most) seconds of interaction, then dismissal or deferment. Equally, it actively discourages – or makes impossible – the sort of behavior that makes mobile devices a double” – Matt Gemmell

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