I’m going to jump ahead and clarify I’m not an Apple/tech hater. If anything, I love Apple for their psycho-perfectionism and I drooled all over their recent keynote like the rest of us. I also have a huge soft spot for wearables especially when it comes to tracking health & fitness. So this is all starting off a friendly ground :)
But here’s how I feel about the Apple Watch (and its neighbours).
It feels like a step in a strange direction.
More of us are waking up to taking control of our happiness through healthy living & mindfulness. More people run marathons/craft location independent careers/snort spirulina. And they’re not (all) hippies — they are simply no longer putting up with stuff that isn’t helping them make the most of their lives, whether it’s being overweight or having meaningless careers. By the same token “always on” connectivity is starting to lose its magical charm — it can get overwhelming and take away more from life than it adds. Suddenly being in silence, enjoying nature, bonding face to face and disconnecting is becoming sought after. You know this shit is going mainstream when “digital detox camps” are the new “fitness bootcamps”.
In fact, around this time last year I disabled all sounds and vibrations from my iPhone because I thought it wasn’t right that the device could get my attention whenever it felt like it. It kept pulling me in to “just do this one thing real quick” and distracting me from being present. So I decided to take control and step back – this was the best hack I’ve done in ages. I’m certainly not reversing it— it gave me breathing space. Constant distractions feed our “monkey minds”, hopelessly trying to multi-task yet effectively not being 100% anywhere at any given moment. And then you feel like your whole life just went by and you weren’t there for most of it.
Mobile/computer/tablet/watch life isn’t real life.
So the Apple Watch is a strange step. Not in terms of tech innovation, but in terms of building devices that improve the quality of life. And wasn’t that the ethos behind what Apple does? With their walled gardens of user experience and beautiful non-intrusive design? I remember life before MacBook. I kid you not that was the closest I ever got to domestic violence — against the laptops I owned before my first MacBook. My last non MacBook laptop spent a good chunk of time cello-taped around the edges because it crashed or became unresponsive or did whatever Windows do to blow people’s fuses and bring out the bitch-slapping Latino woman in anyone. But Apple brought zen into my tech life.
And yet, the Apple Watch is very much un-zen. It’s the equivalent of McDonald’s bringing out a new hyper genetically-modified hormone-fed burger when the whole world is moving away from that. It’s a step against the flow, and not in a good way. It takes the worst of the smartphone and attaches it to your wrist. So it can nag at you all the time. So you can check your emails in real time on your body. But people don’t want that anymore. They want the opposite.