In the second to fourth centuries, the philosophy of Gnosticism became popular. Though it had many variants, a key tenet was that matter was a lesser emanation of a kind of divine spirit. Human spirits were thus spiritual and good, but human bodies and matter were physical and evil, a limitation that had to be escaped in order to achieve true gnosis or enlightenment.
Why on earth do I start an article about technology–and this is an article about technology–with an ancient philosophy?1 Because good design of technology has to be based on an anti-gnostic notion that humans, fundamentally and irreducibly, are physical creatures and use physical products in a physical world. Those physical products, just as fundamentally and irreducibly, have a specific physical form that can be well or poorly suited to a human’s physical body or to the physical world.2 These forms both limit and enable functionality that is unique to that form. This interplay between a form’s function, it’s suitability to the human body and it’s appropriateness for the physical world is what design considers–and it is the interaction of these elements that has led to the success and failure of many technological products.3
Each week, I ask someone to share their watchscreen, examining how they’re using Apple Watch, what apps are useful, and tips or tricks they have. This week, I’m excited to feature Julia Mayhugh (Twitter). Julia has developed and designed software for twenty years, contributes to WatchAware, runs a meetup for women coders in Denver, and is a co-host of the WatchAware podcast (which I would recommend for dedicated analysis of all things Apple Watch).
So, Julia, show us your watchscreen! Continue reading
Update: All codes have been claimed. Thanks to Kane for making this deal possible! If you didn’t get a free code, check out MacID anyway–it’s one of my favorite apps & its Apple Watch app uniquely leverages the Watch! Continue reading
The next contributor to the weekly Watchscreen series on how people are using their Apple Watches is Kane Cheshire (Twitter, Web), developer of one of my favorite apps for Apple Watch, MacID. Kane is a terrific designer and his app demonstrates brilliantly how apps can leverage the unique form of Apple Watch. So, Kane, show us your watchscreen! Continue reading
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In my first piece in this series, I wrote that the value of Apple Watch can’t be explained monetarily, but I’ve found in these last weeks that the value is hard to explain in functional terms. Part of the reason is that its delight comes from tiny moments of joy that compound over time, a compounding that outside observers don’t experience.1 But another part of the reason is that what the watch does is so different than what many expect.
This last week, I was on vacation with my family (who gave the watch to me) and at a conference where my watch was noticed (a lot!).2 Amidst the oohs and ahs and people calling it iWatch, I was repeatedly asked the question, “What does it do?” As I answered that question, I realized that the functions of Apple Watch are unique to its form. It’s an oft-quoted maxim that “form follows function,” but in the case of Apple Watch, I believe the exact opposite is true: the Apple Watch’s form is its function. It is Apple’s discipline to allow the form to dictate its function that has set up the Watch for success in a way only Apple could. Continue reading