Back in the day before back in the day, the family would gather around a radio for news and entertainment. Television was much the same with the whole family viewing programs for hours each evening after dinner. What’s different today? Almost everything.
Time And Location
The past few years television viewing in the U.S. has declined. So have subscriptions to cable television. Without any data to support my premise, both of those changes have been met with an increase in information viewing.
We’re watching and listening to what we want more frequently and from more sources than ever. YouTube gets more eyeballs each day than cable television. We watch Hulu and Netflix on iPads, Macs, PCs, and everything else.
If there’s a change happening to digital device owners in the 21st century it’s all about what we watch and read and listen to, and where it comes from, and on which devices. That’s why I’m surprised at critics of Apple’s new Watch (many of whom were critics of iPhone and iPad, so that says something, too).
There was a time when a family listened to radio programs late into the night. After television took over the entertainment industry, a similar event took place night after night in American homes.
Today we’re a fragmented society of digital junkies, each viewing and listening to different content on multiple devices. Apple is something of a leader and a microcosm of this effect. We Mac users spend hours on our Macs, but only minutes at a time on our iPhones, and Watch will prove to be the device that segregates viewing into micro-minutes– seconds at a time.
Who wants to watch Neflix on Watch? Who wants to browse the web on Watch? The answer is obvious. Nobody. What Watch does is bring us timely information that can be viewed and perhaps acted upon within seconds. Again, we use a Mac for hours, we use iPhones for minutes, and Watch will be limited to seconds.
What of the iPad? Though you can do work– somewhat limited but real PC work– on an iPad, it’s mostly a consumption device, and less of a creative device. Like the Mac, iPad can be viewed and used and listened to for hours at a time, or minutes. And, with the way Apple’s integrated ecosystem works, seconds count, too (Notification Center, alerts and alarms).
There was a day when radio brought us the world. Then television. Today, the world is sliced and diced in many different ways, available for viewing and digesting by the hour, minute, or seconds, and from many different devices. The next time you hear someone decry the need for a smartwatch, or criticize the seemingly self-absorbed smartphone generation, just remember these words– hours, minutes, seconds.