Without the Glass Slab

Coming back to a former state of questioning the mobile in my pocket, and its rightful place in social moments

A little more than a month ago, I purchased the Apple Watch 3 Cellular. Being an owner of the original Apple Watch, it wasn’t really a necessary upgrade. But, I did have this on my mind when initially purchasing an Apple Watch — the previous smartwatch was the cellular-enabled Samsung Gear S. So when this came available, I knew it was time to return to the experiments of that time period. There was an awareness and connection to the world around me I was tapping into. Though looking back, its seems the diversion into the iPhone may have clouded that vision — or at least my execution of it.

A month after the purchase, I pulled the trigger on shifting my T-Mobile account to use the AW3c as an additional data device. There was a struggle with the first trip out — a simple decision to go cycling:

  • What really would be needed for tracking and identification (is Apple Wallet really good enough)?
  • How long would I ride (battery life, plus music streaming to AirPods)? What will it feel like to be lighter yet just as connected (almost carrying nothing but my person)?
  • I ended up driving a distance to the start of the ride.

Decision made: the iPhone stayed in the car. Weird how it wasn’t noticed as missing except for when tapping my pockets — keys and a slim wallet, both barely noticed.

The second time out, the next day actually, was a bit harder. A few errands on deck, yet to places friendly to contactless payments (Apple Pay, etc.). At the time of writing, am sitting in the last of these venues with a Kindle Paperwhite — I’m typing this on my iPhone 7 Plus. Not quite successful, but, I feel it. It’s time to move beyond the glass slab. At least, move beyond its dominance of parts of the social-computing narrative.

The Kindle is open to a sample from The Power of Now. I’ll commit to reading a book only after I get through the sample. And this seems one where I might need to make that commitment. Sticking out was this decision process, this technological progression I’ve been on. We live in an age where many of the projects of our cartoon’s imaginations are now very much becoming the fabric of our lives. However, it’s one thing to go from mainframes to tablets; I’m just aiming at the paradigm of the invisible computer. At least in these social settings, aren’t we ready to engage better with the word around us and not within the window sills of mobiles?

The day is not quite finished. I’ve got a few other social moments happening today (if you are in the DC Metro area, check out Kitchenista Sundays). And there’s the unique and very valid question I’m asking of whether to take my iPhone with me? There’s nothing wrong with this large mobile not even coming out of my pocket (I’ll want to take pictures as I did previously ). But is the mobile needed? I could use Snap Spectacles — and aside from the sunglasses in a evening-darkened room, there’d honestly be no problem with letting that be the social moments of record. Not sure about venturing into tweeting — though there’s probably not an issue doing so since speech-to-text is much improved on the AW3c.

It is more or less about behaviors I’d like to cultivate, and perceptions to be ready to answer towards. When you do computing things in ways or methods which challenge the norm, you have to be ok with what you know and don’t know. This is the position Elon Musk is putting himself towards as it relates to automotive shifts; Jeff Bezos put himself towards relating to book sales and logistical shifts. I’m not measuring myself exactly against these and others, but its clear that social computing is ripe for a change to which those who change first need to do a lot of listening and asking — not just showing off.

This might not be an issue within a decade’s time. Its just about been a decade of smartphones, and just over two decades of the commonality of carrying a mobile. Generations shift — sometimes quickly. The removal, or minimization, of the glass slab seems like an inevitable aim towards some of this computing. And at least towards the point where many are trying to reclaim the humanity and connectedness of social spaces, it might be time to let the glass go from this context. At least, this is the roadsign up ahead now that I’ve reoriented to this road I’m on.