Ryan Irelan

is a publisher, author, developer, husband, and father. At 6'5" he can't dunk a basketball but he sure wishes he could.

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The New Swipe

This week, the daring John Gruber linked to a Dan Frommer piece called “The Apple-fication of everything.” The write-up centered around the new Nest thermostat and how the Steve Jobs legacy “taught hundreds of millions of consumers to expect and demand amazing things.”

This expectation isn’t just with hardware design like the timeless iPhone 4(s) or iPad. How we interact with our devices is equally as influenced by Apple products since the original iPhone. I’ve seen this happen several times (and have done it myself) with the Amazon Kindle, where someone tries to interact with the E-ink screen by touch.

On a flight home from Washington, D.C. after the An Event Apart conference, I noticed something funny about how a customer interacted with the DIRECTV screens in the seat backs of the Continental Airlines Boeing 737. Unlike on JetBlue flights, DIRECTV costs a fee to watch on Continental. The passenger is teased with a free preview of about 20 minutes in length. After that you are prompted to pay to watch.

I took a photo of the screen but we were in the middle of some turbulence so the image is blurry.

DirectTV Swipe Now Screen

Nonetheless, the screen reads:

Looking for something fun to do? Watch live DIRECTV…

along with some more text and then a prompt to “Swipe Now!” inside of a large arrow pointing to the right. The arrow was pointing to an old fashioned magnetic card reader where you swipe your credit card and pay for the DIRECTV access.

Ever since 2007, more than a hundred million people recognize the arrow to the right—and the prompt to swipe or slide—from the iPhone unlock screen.

A couple of rows in front of me, I noticed an older man (about 60 years old) as he looked at the DIRECTV screen. When prompted to “Swipe Now!” he moved his hand toward the screen and quickly swiped left to right with his index finger. When nothing happened, he paused and looked at the screen. Confused, he moved on and flipped through the inflight magazine.

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