February 24, 2020

Smartphones Are Training Us to Be Consumers

“IN FEBRUARY, LEAKED software code predicted the demise of the back button on the latest version of Google’s Android smartphone. Apple did away with the iPhone’s home button in 2017. LG’s latest handset allows users to control their devices without touching them at all. Now, we scroll, swipe, and tap. Soon, we may never again need to hit a button on our phones.

Perennial hype surrounds these haptic innovations in touch and motion control technology. Every month, another company announces an interface that tries to make the tech invisible to users. By closing the gap between our bodies and our virtual selves, they aspire to channel our pure, natural expression. Such an interface has long been the holy grail for designers.

In the past decade, many interfaces seeking to make this vision reality have entered the market. From the Wii motion console to Leap Motion, these devices aim to erase the boundary between our bodies and our information. Of these, our smartphones are the most mundane, the most pervasive, and the least visible.”

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