My relationship to Apple products is like my relationship to chocolate-chip cookies: I love them, I can't remember a time when I didn't love them and I love to read about how people enjoy them. I'm interested in the different types available, and the various places you can buy and test them (yes I'm still talking about tech and cookies).
So now that I've proven I'm not a Luddite (or a delicious-cookie hater!) I'd like to ask you something. You know that feeling when you've eaten one cookie and it's amazing? And you eat another cookie, and that's pretty good too? And then you get some milk, and eat a third, fourth, and fifth cookie while entranced in a moment of cookie bliss? And then, as you are chomping away at the sixth cookie, you realize that it's not as good as the first, but you keep eating anyway — and then in the middle of the seventh cookie, you get disgusted, because you've just consumed way too many cookies?
I just feel like on some level, there's too much Apple these days. My first iPod was a revelation. I love my Macbook Air and my iPhone. But I'm done. Every Apple device that's added on makes the rest of them seem less wonderful.
Just like too many cookies makes you regret the previous cookies.
Because there's a big new Apple product — a watch — and even though it has some pretty cool capabilities (tiny size and a superhard screen mean you can finally enact your Dick Tracy fantasies; it has advanced biometric tracking) I'm not going to buy it. Why? Because I'm a little Apple-d out, yes, but also because I don't want my tech any closer or any more available than it already is. And because something that's on my body, that I can't put out of my eyesight easily, is too much tech. It's the seventh cookie.
The Apple Watch, as detailed in the promotional video for the device, was designed to "connect with the wearer on an intimate level to embrace individuality and inspire desire" — which in my mind means that it's going to be pretty unignorable. Being on one's wrist, connected to me "intimately," it will always be there. Always on, always able to distract me. I don't know about you, but I don't need any more distractions. Or any more social media, or any more notifications from friends or (really?) strangers. (The Apple Watch has a new feature so you can ping people near you — even sharing heartbeats!)
This device was obviously not designed by people who have any introverted tendencies.
But who knows — maybe you will love your Apple Watch! The biometrics tools look pretty cool, I'll admit. But what about the rest of us? Is your watch going to be (by dint of the fact that it's on your wrist, not easily removed or turned over, like a phone) beeping and flashing info all the time? When you're out to lunch with me, or in a meeting with me, is it going to be distracting you from the human across the table from you? I turn my phone over, at the least, or — usually — put it in my bag when I'm meeting with someone. But now there's this thing is on your wrist, unignorable by you — or me.
As Felix Salmon wrote over at Slate, we are hardwired to be attracted to shiny things and, "A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist, of course, is shinier than all but the blingiest of jewels."
Is your watch going to be going off in the movie theater? (The answer is yes.) Since it's on your wrist, I'm just going to have to deal with that annoying glow (since I won't be able to threaten to throw your phone across the room). When you're driving, are you going to swerve trying to read a message on your watch? I mean, it's right there on the wrist that you are driving with.
Yup, your Apple Watch will be great for you, and terrible for the rest of us. And despite its promises of intimacy and connection, I predict it will only push us further apart, especially when its always-glowing face is designed to be more interesting than the world that's in front of you. And it's attached to your wrist, unignorable ... and meant to be.
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