You wake up. You grab your phone. What’s the first app you open?
This sounds like a silly question — or worse, an insulting one.1 But I find it’s a rather enlightening question. Depending on when the question is asked, the answer can either be telling about the current state of apps or the current state of you.
Personally, right now, the first app I open in the morning is Twitter. But it hasn’t always been. A year ago, that app was Path. A year before that, that app was Instagram. Before that, it was probably Twitter again. Or Foursquare. Or Techmeme (technically, the web browser). At some point it was Facebook. And way back when it was probably — shudder — email.
I’m not really sure why my instincts about which app to open first change over time. The best I can come up with is that it’s based on what my friends are using most frequently — or probably more importantly, in an interesting way. At a high level, I suppose it has to be the service I’m most addicted to.
In a way, it seems analogous to the web browser homepage of yesteryear. Yes, web browsers still have homepages which you can set, but does anyone really care about that anymore?2 I feel like everyone I know now just automatically opens Google when they open their web browser — especially if they use Chrome which loads the Google Search bar for you. Or, perhaps more telling, no one seems to close their web browsers anymore, or restart their computers. So homepages matter less and less.
Anyway, I see the first app you turn to in the morning as the new homepage. Some might argue it’s your entire homescreen of apps, but I don’t think that’s right. It’s the one service you care most about, no matter the reason, and want to load immediately upon hitting the web. The delivery device has changed, but the concept has not.
Some days I rely on push notifications to tell me what app I should open first. But in an age of too many notifications, I usually just go right to Twitter, lest I be stressed out right when I awaken.
I wonder what the next app will be which draws my immediate attention in the morning. Personally, that’s one of the strongest signals that an app is not only interesting, but vital. Those apps don’t always pan out, of course. But even catching that lightning in a bottle for a brief period of time is something more than most apps ever achieve.
I wonder if there’s an app that can target just this use case? An app that aims to be your first stop in the morning, every morning.