There’s a real problem occurring right now with the royal us not coping well with interconnectedness, and how fast and easy information can and does pour in. Some point to smart phones as the culprit, others to high speed internet, or rather the internet’s underpinnings itself. The issue is all of the above and us.
And this was never more evident than my recent internal debates about whether or not I should get an Apple Watch series 4 to try out — and no I won’t be getting one. Because the more you think about the Apple Watch, the more you realize that it exacerbates the problem — you have to choose: do you want to relax, or do you want to be more connected? If you want to relax, or have any hope in doing so, you need to get rid of your phone and Apple Watch as best as you can.
Apple watches are at their core, a way for your iPhone to reach out and tap you on the arm to bother you better, in hopes of solving a user want to use an iPhone less. Or put another way: people wanted to ditch their phones, so Apple Watch was made to allow people to ditch their phones without ditching the addiction. It’s like stopping smoking to only become addicted to nicotine patches or vapes. You really solved nothing, you just substituted one thing for another.
And, ok, let’s argue that people use the Apple Watch wrong and first and foremost it should be a device to promote good health. I call bullshit on this. It’s not, if it was, it’d be great and I would own one. But it’s not a health device firs and foremost, here’s why:
- If the Apple Watch really wanted you to get out and be healthy, they would not advertise that you can go catch some waves on a surf board while also not missing that important conference call. “Get fit, be healthy, but don’t ditch your device — that’d be nuts.”
- If Apple Watch wants to help you be more mindful and relaxed, then “breathe” is not the best avenue — having no notifications is. And, actually, that’s technically easier to accomplish than the Breathe complication, so that tells you the lengths being gone through. I got 95 notifications on my iPhone during Friday — and I have almost all notifications turned off. That would be 95 times the Apple Watch tapped my wrist — there’s nothing at all relaxing about that.
- Standing up, as much as you think it does something, doesn’t do jack shit for extending your life. But congrats on hitting those rings and goals. What would be better: using your computer or device less, but yeah that really is not good for sales, right?
- The rings, yeah sure they are probably accurate, but let’s not forget that your diet is far more important than your exercise — it’s just that we don’t like to accept that because it’s harder to change the way we eat, than it is to full those rings. I am glad they get people out and doing stuff, that’s good, but knowing how hard you’ve worked out is not in itself important. Actually, another issue here is that it does tend to make people skip workouts they would have otherwise done when they see they have almost already filled their ‘rings’ for the day.
That’s the thing about the Apple Watch: for everything it purports to do for the good of the person, all it does is seek to make them more addicted to the tech itself. And it’s not just me, and it’s not just Apple Watch, here’s Matt Honan on the Google Pixel 3:
I don’t recall exactly when my phone became such a festival of stress and psychological trauma, but here we are.
Replace phone with watch and it still fits. That’s certainly how I felt and how I feel every time I wear an Apple Watch. Luckily, I was able to quit, but it wasn’t easy. And don’t even mention Screen Time — all that does is calm down Wall Street, while giving us more in-actionable and meaningless data. If Apple really wanted Screen Time to mean something, they wouldn’t allow it to be so easily bypassed — but in doing that we might miss something and surely the world would end, or so I assume, I dare not test out that theory for fear I miss something myself.
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