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Why am I going iPhone-first?

Vikrant Duggal
Vikrant Duggal
• 3 min read

I received a note from my friend Jason Yeh during the day yesterday about my switch which I replied to quickly. Later in the evening I received a second one from Dru Riley who runs Trends.

Allow me to expand.

First off, this isn’t my first time doing this. For most of 2018 and some of 2019 I was running my entire consulting business off my iPhone. It was a beautiful thing, especially while living in Santa Barbara. But, I was only doing one thing at that time - consulting.

This year things have changed - I'm consulting, running Consulting Club, and launching a fund later this month.

Whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, we are on our phones more than ever. I’ve been using iOS Screen Time - I’m well aware of how much I use my phone. I’m also well aware of how much I’m using other devices like a desktop, laptop, or iPad. So, I have a baseline of what I'm personally working with.

By splitting up between different form factors I’m essentially losing a lot! You are also probably on a variety of screens throughout the day (laptop, desktop, television, tablet, wristwatch). It’s all screen all the time. How many people have really decoded which screen is best for what purpose and at what specific time? I’ve received a number of messages from people who are actively looking to reduce their screen time. So, something is definitely up.

What's in it for me?

First, going iPhone-first makes this device my only computer and I can take it with me anywhere. I see it as a benefit to drop to only one computer and one screen. Second, I can lean heavily into delegating. The iPhone is clearly limited (for a number of reason we won’t go into here) in it’s ability to perform tasks. It’s just not as flexible as my laptop. How many assistants will I need to support? TBD.

Third, I will regain focus. iOS really only lets me do one thing at a time. I’m sitting at my kitchen counter, typing this essay out in my Notes app. Then, I just copy/paste over to my blog platform, make some edits, and I'm done. I'm not getting pinged with notifications, no other distractions. (As a test, open up your notes app on your computer, and now do the same on your phone. Which gives you a greater degree of focus?) Fourth, I can put my phone down and leave everything behind and given it’s my only computer there’s no other screen to “go check”. Fifth, when I do have my phone everything is with me - and there's not syncing issues. It's all here.

On a global scale I believe iPhone-first and iPhone only is already the mainstream is many parts of the world - like China. I believe it will pick up speed in North America.

While these haven’t influenced my personal decision, here are some additional thoughts:

  • 5G and whatever comes after that will allow many people to drop their broadband connections and move completely to phone.
  • More and more businesses are getting mobile-friendly and the App Store ecosystem is getting better by the year (apps account for 89% of mobile media time) - I think 2020 is forcing companies to figure it out (there's a lot of opportunity in the mobile-friendly business space.
  • 70% of web traffic comes from mobile devices.
  • Smartphone ownership is on the rise
  • We’re going to get screen fatigue and there will be a huge purge. (Note: as part of my experiment I’m selling all of my screen-based computers except for the phone).
  • World Advertising Research Center almost three quarters (72.6%) of internet users will access the web solely via their smartphones by 2025, equivalent to nearly 3.7 billion people.
  • WSJ did a piece on this very thing back in 2018