It’s a question as old as time itself: when you hit the glorious snooze button on your smartphone each morning, why does it ring after nine precise minutes?
What Kind of Waker Are You?
When we wake up in the morning, we generally fall into two categories – those who press snooze and those who don’t. When I told my housemate I woke up nine minutes later than usual because I chose to snooze for the first time in a few months, he looked at me dumbfounded. He showed me his phone and explained how he doesn’t use the snooze function at all – and for good reason:
This is vastly different from my own experience of waking up. As my alarm hits 7:30 am, I jump out of bed and begin my morning routine of exercise, breakfast, reading, and walking slowly to work. Both our morning routines give the other one anxiety.
It turns out, the nine-minute snooze time set by modern-day smartphones has a complicated and fascinating history, one that Apple has maintained to pay homage to engineers and snoozers before us.
Before our clocks were digitally incorporated into our smartphones, alarms were built into physical clocks. It was precise hardware decisions that determined how and why an alarm would ring and ring again if the waker were to snooze.
The part of the clock that was designated for controlling our snoozes was attached to the minutes’ hardware. Because engineers didn’t want to change how the entire clock worked, they made sure to include it within existing technology. This caused the longest possible time that someone could snooze at once was nine minutes – or, to be precise, one minute less than the impossible 10.
History is Made
Apple decided to pay homage to this quirky fact and the rest, as we know, is history. There must be an entire generation who enjoys the nine-minute snooze without appreciating its heritage.
Incidentally, the repercussions of this decision have been significant. Today, people say that their most ideal snooze time is between 8-12 minutes.
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