No, a killer app is a reason to buy and use a computer and modern devices really have a number of killer apps which range from the browser to Microsoft Office (more of a suite of apps) to Adobe’s Creative Cloud (also a suite of apps) to iTunes, Photos, Calendar, and apps we use every day. But there’s a new generation of killer apps which have taken over our computer usage in recent years.
The Center Of Notifications
Not many years ago we of the Apple faith began carrying multiple devices with the iconic logo. The Mac, then the iPod. The iPod’s killer app was, of course, the ability to play music from a list in iTunes.
Then along came the iPhone, and a few years later, the iPad, and synchronized notifications were born. Actually, notifications have always been around with beeps and buzzes to let us know something was going on, but the iPhone ushered in a new era of notifications, the killer apps of the 21st century.
Look how much we have come to depend upon notifications with our Apple devices.
Calendar events pop up with notifications. Mail lets us know what is in the inbox. Reminders tell us what to do and when. The App Store app tells us when apps are ready to be updated. Then we have the various and sundry social media apps which let us know a friend has uploaded a photo to Instagram, than someone we know has a message on Facebook, and a celebrity politician has tweeted something outrageous.
Yes, notifications are the killer app for 21st century computer users.
No new product defines the value of notifications, alerts, and alarms better than Apple Watch. Though tethered to the iPhone (for now) Watch typifies and embodies modern notifications with a growing array of options as well as different ways to communicate to the wearer that something may (or, may not) need some attention.
Options for Watch notifications are growing at a frenetic pace and it’s become obvious that notification curation is a thing. I keep my Watch notifications simple but useful, but the use case scenario varies greatly between Watch owners. For some, all that’s needed is Messages, incoming phone calls, and Mail. For others, there’s DarkSky for up-to-the-minute micro-weather forecast information (‘Drizzle starting in 5 minutes‘ – Gah! I love that).
Watch is not just about time. It’s about what is happening to time, how to use time better, how to manipulate time and control it (at least, more so than fishing around for a smartphone or rushing to the nearest computer). The key to Apple Watch and the success it has enjoyed so far as Apple’s fastest growing new product ever (true story; look it up) is the mashup of convenience (watch is tied to your wrist, easily accessible, instantly viewable) and notifications (whatever you need to know about from your iPhone can be be pushed out to the Watch as a notification).
Way back in the early days of PCs, WordStar or Lotus 1-2-3 were major killer apps; obvious tools which formed a good reason to buy and use a personal computer. Ditto for Photoshop and other apps which make owning a personal computer a profitable, useful, career enhancing endeavor. But killer apps are many these days; our Macs are packed with free apps from Apple that we must have– Mail, Safari, Calendar, iTunes, Photos, Reminders, even Notes, as well as apps like Garageband and iMovie which appeal to other users for a lesser number of Mac users.
iPhone and now Watch have enhanced the need for more killer apps– collectively known as notifications— from other apps. iPhone is a great device for notifications, but Watch is better as it allows a filter for notifications that are more valuable, a filter which allows Watch owners to determine value on the fly without the effort of finding, locating, and opening the iPhone itself.
21st century killer apps? They’re notifications and Watch personifies the direction notifications, alerts, and alarms are going. Personal.