Earlier today, Apple started a clearance sale on the iPhone SE, its almost three-year-old, 4-inch smart device designed after the iPhone 5S, at a $100 discount. It was the 2nd round of recent sales after a preliminary batch sold out the previous weekend. And like any budget-adverse tech reporter with an impulse buying obsession, I felt this was the appropriate minute to hop on the backup phone bandwagon. I purchased one. (Sadly, it offered out fast, again.)

I have actually always valued the timeless 5S design, with its overtly rounded corners and its durable, not-so-delicate measurements. It never ever felt like it truly required a case, and its smaller sized screen and more comfy, one-handed usage is something I’ve believed far excessive about as I have actually shuttled around an iPhone X and now an XS over the previous year and a half. Plus, it’s got an earphone jack.

I bought an area grey design, with 32GB of storage, purely since I wish to pop my nano SIM into it on nights and weekends when I don’t desire the full, 5.8-inch iPhone XS screen ridiculing me to open Instagram and Twitter two dozen times in an any given hour. I prepare to keep Spotify, Google Maps, and perhaps a couple of reading, podcasting, and news apps on it, but absolutely nothing else. No Slack, no Twitter, no Instagram … none of that. I want the phone to work primarily as a phone, instead of as the always half-open window into a digital life I ‘d rather leave when I shut my laptop computer down every evening.

More broadly, I’m attempting to find out if the issue is mainly me, or mainly my gadget and the apps I use. (Or equivalent amounts of both.) Due to the fact that no matter how well-meaning Apple and Google’s techniques to mindfulness can appear, both companies profit in one way or another from your continued and relentless mobile phone use, be it through ads on a Google Browse window or the persistent, bothersome sensation that you might as well upgrade to the most recent iPhone for worry of being left behind.

The inspiration here is not a novel one. Considering that renders of the initial Light Phone hit Kickstarter method back in 2015, the minimalist phone movement has cycled through various stages of fond memories for the pre-smartphone age, when flip phones reigned supreme and the BlackBerry had to do with as featured a gadget as you could buy.

The most recent collective yearning to call back our complex relationship with innovation was around the new Palm phone, a small 3.3-inch phone that piggybacks off your Verizon number. Almost everyone I’ve spoken with about the gadget appears to concur that they ‘d purchase it in a heartbeat if it were commonly offered beyond Verizon (and maybe a little cheaper than its present $349.99 rate). The enormous interest in the device was yet another indication that the minimalist phone motion is here to stay.

Given, a lot of these business are just attempting to sell you a second phone to keep you away from your main phone. The core philosophy still revolves around the exact same alluring concern: Can a smaller sized, less capable mobile phone assistance you live a more fulfilling life?

Most likely not, but it seems worth trying. The average American opened their phone on average of 52 times a day last year, up from 47 the year before, according to the US edition of the 2018 Worldwide Mobile Customer Survey from Deloitte. More than 60 percent of people polled in between the ages of 18 and 34 admit to utilizing their phone too much. The science on the subject remains inconclusively, due to how difficult it is to draw conclusions from mainly self-reported data, it does definitely feel like we live in a society that continues to glorify and reward always-on behavior while at the same time wallowing in the fear of what it may be doing to our mental and emotional states.

When it comes to me, I’m much worse than your typical person. According to Apple’s Screen Time dashboard, I open my phone on typical 94 times a day. Twitter is my most utilized app after pickup, with the stock Messages app, Messenger, and Chrome in the next leading areas. I spend approximately 2.5 hours daily on my phone, with a huge bulk of that use identified under “social networking.”

Individual habits aside, almost every website and mobile app and os maker out there is incentivized to absorb as much of your attention as possible. Whether it’s Netflix or Twitch measuring their success in minutes viewed or Twitter and Instagram promoting how many of their month-to-month users now open the app every day, the ad-fueled attention economy can pretend to appreciate your digital health and wellbeing and accountable use of screen time as much as their marketing department sees fit. However at the end of the day, the more we utilize and count on our phones, the more effective these phone and app makers declare themselves.

How does the SE fit in here? Well, the SE is very first and foremost going to be my second phone. It will be a things with a tightly managed experience focused on a particular concept of disconnecting, as best as somebody can unplug in 2019. It will not have my work email, it won’t have Fortnite or Holedown, and it most definitely will not have Twitter. (I’m more partial to Instagram for the sole factor that it is a more enjoyable location to hang out than any of the other popular digital spaces readily available to me.)

The phone is just not as good. It’s smaller sized and more compact, with an even worse screen, battery life, and cam. I’m hoping that assists me resist the urge to pop open a Twitch stream or watch a couple of YouTube videos, or picture scenes I’ll never truly feel the need to keep in mind and will not look fondly back on anyway. As an AT&T client, it’s my own variation of the Palm phone.

I do not have high hopes that it will work all that well. I still need to be wired into Slack and Twitter for work most days of the week, and I doubt I’ll desire to go through the trouble of SIM switching every night just for the chance at more peace of mind. I also think I’ll stress too much about leaving my more better camera-equipped XS at home if I go on a particularly beautiful weekend trip, or that I might feel like I’m not captured up on the news if I’m not utilizing Twitter, to genuinely devote to utilizing the SE from the moment I sign off on Friday evening to when I wake up on Monday early morning.

It’ll be an experiment. If anything, Apple’s Screen Time can now serve a brand-new and more essential role: informing me whether I really require the very best and most pricey iPhone, and all the most eyeball-grabbing mobile apps, to feel satisfied and notified and approximately date. My guess is that even if I mistake and utilize my SE less than I ‘d like, it’ll still be comforting to know I can turn the volume down on my digital life whenever I like.