Developing new technology that intentionally takes extra long—decades, even—to send messages to your friends and family seems like the antithesis of modern communication, but developers of one new app are banking on the fact that we have room in our lives for this sort of delayed gratification. Incubate: The Time-Delay Messenger, which launched this month, allows users to send texts, photos, videos, and voicemails now that won't get delivered until a predetermined time, up to 25 years into the future (assuming we still use cell phones and text messages in 2040!). "Everyone has a need to send a strategically-timed message, whether they know it or not," co-founder Michael McCluney told CNN. And while that might not be totally true—we've gotten by this long without it, after all—the app does recommend a range of sentimental uses:
Imagine sending a video of your baby boy drinking his first bottle to his 21st birthday: "Have a good 21st buddy - enjoy a bottle or two tonight - Love Dad." Imagine getting a video from a crazy night out in college a decade later while you're sitting at the airport for a business trip. Instant mood changer. What if your favorite grandparent could send you birthday wishes for the next 25 years. They might be gone, but they can still bring a smile to your face on your special day.
Before you get up in arms about babies texting, know you don't have to buy your infant an iPhone to make the app work. Parents can set up an Incubate Nursery account that's linked to email, instead of a phone number, for their kids and then sync it with a phone when their bundle of joy is old enough to have one. If you have the app, you can view the total number of messages that are "incubating," but not who sent them or when you'll get them. "Emotionally, that's the component that resonates really, really well," McCluney said—but to me, this sounds a little like having to stare at the bubbled ellipses that means someone's typing for up to 25 years. Or, put another way, torturous. That said, sending anniversary wishes from the day of your actual wedding would be pretty cute.