Apple Watch Mickey Mouse Watch Face

The Apple Watch: A Distraction Free mode for your iPhone

You need an iPhone to use an Apple Watch — but what if the upcoming smart watch makes you use the required phone less?

Ahead of Monday’s Spring Forward event I’m seeing more and more articles exploring how apps may work on the wrist-friendly device, how folks expect to use their Apple Watch in their day-to-day lives and what the watch could be used for going forward.

All of these speculative articles have one common thread — brevity.

A lot of the writing on how people are going to use the watch centres around quick, actionable experiences. A tap here, a glance there. This all leads me to one hopeful belief: the Apple Watch will not only tell you the time, it’ll save it.

Of course, with every new technology we are promised time-saving efficiency and increased leisure, yet “instead of consuming the time-saving benefits”, we find “other ways of filling up the time“.

Now, I’m fairly sure the Apple Watch won’t meaningfully change this pattern. You probably won’t be more productive, just less distracted — or so I hope.

The scenario I outline below is one I’m sure a large number of you can relate too:

You get a notification, be it an important email (that you must look at right this instance, of course) or a pressing text message from a loved one.

What then starts as innocently picking up of your phone to quickly respond, turns into a 15-to-20 minute round trip of your home screen. Double-tapping some fancy pics on Instagram, scanning your Twitter timeline, viewing your latest Snapchats and liking a friends dumb status on Facebook.

Before you know it, a half-hour has passed, your coffee has gone cold and you’ve forgotten what you were working on (and, if you’re like me, you probably never even got to replying that text). Distractions, distractions, distractions.

At least with the Apple Watch, the design of the device will force you into certain behaviour. Can I deal with this notification here on my wrist? Is this worth getting my phone out of my pocket?

Some things will be actionable directly from the Apple Watch — a few taps, and done. If not, ignore for later. For me, that is where the value lies: making snap decisions, and being concise in your actions.

The Apple Watch may just be the distraction free mode your iPhone needed.

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