App-less world: Why the App paradigm is flawed


Apps interrupt the tasks we want to do. Wouldn't it be great if the tasks themselves were center stage rather than the places we do them?

My App World

I have over 600 apps upward of 90% of which are either defunct, outdated or I simply don't use. There is a core of say 140 apps that are organised in an ad-hoc manner on my 10+ screens. To be honest I rarely navigate past the 3rd screen and more commonly use spotlight to find an app.

Spotlight has in fact become my default way in finding an app so much so that I even use for apps that are on the second page. For me Spotlight is possibly the best software application Apple has ever made. Yep I'm serious. 

So if it's so good what's the problem? Well consider this scenario ...

What's Matt Up To?

I wonder what Matt is up to this evening. Matt is one of my goto guys I seek when I'm in the mood to banter about non-important-near-meaningless issues amongst other things.

where is Matt?

We work some distance apart so I can't rock up to his work. Anyhow I don't know if he's at work. I can't call him right now because I'm at work, also he doesn't answer his phone when he's at work. Finds it too distracting he says. I think I'll contact him via an app. 

Here is my messaging screen 


Apart for the mail app's each icon represents a different wall gardened communication network. Matt's not on all of these but is on most. That's part of the problem. Remembering where he has presence and where he doesn't. Even on networks where he has presence is he there now?

So what should I do? In general I "guess". I know he's probably at work right now and tends to turn off his phone so my chosen method must be desktop bound. Like me I always have a browser open and gmail is always one of the tabs... soooo I guess I could try GTalk.. 

It's all too hard. I'm investing more time in the mechanics of communication rather than communicating. If only there was a way I could just say "What's up Mat" and my device figures out where Mat is and handles the decision seamlessly.

Not A New Issue

The above problem is not a new one. Back in 2007 I joined a company (trutap) that was on the verge of solving this problem for the then virgining messaging market. Our V2 app communicated over all your presences (Yahoo / ICQ / Blogger / GTalk / facebook etc). When you messaged it figured out where you were and just like  I wanted above. 

Unfortunately we ran out of funding and it didn't see the light of day.

Imagine now if you could simply talk to your phone and it do the above without even opening an app. It just figures stuff out. This is what Siri and the like are eventually going to do however they not quite there yet.