The future is ignorable

by Tom Albrighton 10 December 2014 Digital and social, Fun

Cupertino, CA: Tech giant Apple is set to capitalize on its success in wearable tech with a bold move into ignorable technology.

Industry sources believe that the successor to the iWatch will be the iBlank—which, if it lives up to analysts’ expectations, is set to become one of the most highly disregarded products in the fast-developing ignorables sector.

“People are suffering from information overload, social-media burnout, and digital addiction,” says digital futurologist Virgil Mash. “We need technology that radically downscales the cognitive demands it places on its users, to the point where it’s 100% safe for prolonged periods of disuse.”

Designed to be as unportable as possible, the iBlank’s fatline form factor and hefty weight make it a natural fit for a wardrobe, attic, or garage, where users are expected to consult it as rarely as once a year—if ever. Its bulky, angular profile encourages the user to overlook its functionality completely, for example by using it as a venue for affixing post-in notes rather than switching it on.

$_35Apple may have abandoned skeumorphism in is UIs, but the iBlank is a clear homage to the resolutely inaccessible technologies of the past. It features a tiny, illegible LCD screen like the Newton, an infuriatingly unresponsive keyboard inspired by the Sinclair ZX-81, and a horrible blue trackball from the 90s. As well as being profoundly unergonomic, this featureset guarantees users can access absolutely none of the information they want within seconds.

Should users persist in trying to interact with the iBlank, they’ll find that alerts from friends and family are vaguely lowlighted, making them easy to deprioritize for immediate neglect. A key concern here was to make it almost impossible to respond accidentally and begin an unwanted conversation.

By default, notifications from any app disappear after a few minutes, but this “half-life” can be reduced to zero so the user never sees them at all. The device supports deletion of absolutely everything, including the core phone and messaging apps, allowing the iBlank to take on the retro appeal of a brand-new 1970s telephone index.

For early adopters who allow the iBlank into every area of their lives, the implications are sure to be profound. “The modern phone or tablet user invests an incredible amount of time in footling amusements, aimless info-wandering, and desultory social-media frottage,” says Virgil. “The iBlank gives them back those wasted hours, so they can go outside, read a book, or meet actual human beings. I predict it’s going to create a profound lifestyle revolution. In fact, if we stay on this curve, we could end up with technology we never have to use at all.”

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