Why the solutions to the digital attention crisis will emerge from Google > Apple.

Apple’s design philosophy stifles innovation in this category.

iPhone users are bending their backs to make their phones less distracting, in order to reclaim their productivity, relationships and mental wellbeing. The leading solution so far is a manual, 12-step, back-door, unintelligent “grayscale” trick, which is merely a half measure.

Apple has introduced some of the world’s most iconic, helpful and beautiful consumer products in history through relentless focus on the user experience.

Moment is one of the top apps in this category for iOS.

Apple could solve this problem. But don’t hold your breath.

The Center for Humane Technology believes companies like Apple, Samsung and Microsoft have this unique point of leverage because:

Must we be presented with a grid of bright corporate logos every time we open our phone 150x/day?

Must we have no way to monitor and limit our usage?

Must all badges and push notifications be turned on by default?

Must our only options for notification delivery be all the time or never?

We can’t even begin to explore these questions today.


Is Android the land of opportunity?

It’s counterintuitive. Google relies on monetizing users’ attention with advertisements for 84% of its total revenue. But because of how open the Android platform is for developers, we are likely to see more innovation in the digital wellness space here vs. on iOS.

The consequence for app developers is that they have the freedom on Android to customize the global-experience of using the device.

While Google can reject any app that abuses this freedom, and has recently shown signs of getting stricter on select UX permissions, it’s technically possible for any Android app to change every aspect of the end user’s experience from the moment they unlock the phone.

Siempo exemplifies the opportunities developers have to improve the user interface of smartphones. Disclosure: I work for Siempo.

What would an Oprah Phone or Tony Robbins Phone look and feel like?

A Headspace Phone or CrossFit Phone?

Welcome to a Hello Kitty digital life.

Android users are free to seek out 3rd-party apps that provide a healthier global-experience, and Android app developers are free to innovate in the digital wellness space.

Meanwhile, iOS users are entirely dependent on Apple to support their digital health. They’ll need to wait until the concerns about smartphone distraction and overuse become undeniable to the point that Apple is compelled to address those issues more seriously.

Android is your best bet if you struggle with tech addiction or want to be part of creating the solution.

As of today,

  • Siempo Launcher lets users batch notifications and unbrand app icons
  • Luna Launcher features geo fencing to block selected apps when one’s child is at school or home
  • LilSpace and Thrive include an SMS autoresponder
  • Go Gray will allow grayscale trick scheduling



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Andrew Murray Dunn

Andrew Murray Dunn

Regenerative Tech | Business | Culture | Life. Co-founder @getsiempo, Digital Wellness Collective, @Wharton Wisdom. www.andrewmurraydunn.com