Amol Rajan: If modern life is all about lack of time , i conserves it

FreeView from the editors at i

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Speaking to some of you at our Readers' Party at the London Transport Museum recently, I came to understand the remarkable affection and trust this young newspaper already generates, and had my view that there are three main reasons for its success confirmed.

The first is price. It's not just that you prefer to spend 20p on a paper to, say, 50p or £1; it's that you feel less bad about throwing a paper in the bin when you've only spent 20p on it. The low price of i removes buyers' remorse.

The second is what I call it's "zeitgeistiness". i is an extremely modern product; even its name is synonymous with the Apple products that infest our lives today. It is very interactive, strong on social media, and gives you a sense of ownership. i is the zeitgeist made print.

The third is the "all you need to know" element. We all swim in an ocean of information these days. What readers want is someone to edit the world for them, to say, "This is what matters", and, "Don't worry about the rest". We curate this information so you don't have to.

If I had to weight these three factors, I would say the last is the most important. Modern life is about time – and the lack thereof. What you guys want is more of it. Which brings me onto iPhones.

In his well-publicised new book, The Fix, the Daily Telegraph journalist Damian Thompson writes about the modern addiction to technology – in particular, devices such as smartphones. These glorious gadgets are addictive partly because they are capable of doing what this newspaper does: creating time.

So here, apropos of nothing in particular, are three examples of iPhone apps that have improved my quality of life this year. I'm not being paid by any of the makers to say this.

Hailo allows you to hail the nearest black cab in London, and tells you how far away it is.

It's the latest stage of a war between them and Addison Lee from which customers are profiting.

The Trainline app tells you when trains are leaving from whichever station. This allows you to plan your travel, so you're not standing around on a platform for ages.

It's just like the remarkable Bus Checker, which tells you when the next bus you want is due at any stop you want in London.

Just as many of you have become addicted to this newspaper, so I have become addicted to my smartphone, not least because of the apps in it. Great riches will flow to other innovators who can create time for those modern people who want more of it.