When Apple first released the iWatch I was dubious at best, verging on scornful. “Another iDevice” I thought. One that seemed to have more form than function. The function it had only worked when it was slaved to another iDevice.
“This is just a cynical move on Apple’s part to create demand for their brand” said I. “Apple are going after the youth market with another must-have cool thing” – my step-kids were evidence of that.
Anyway, I already had a watch, a gift from my husband that matched my wedding rings and had pretty, sparkly diamonds in it. Why would I want a big plastic one instead?
Then I got a phone call… “You’ve won an iWatch. What colour would you like?”
So now I have this big plastic watch that has to be strapped firmly to my wrist to even work (can anyone say eczema?) and sulks if you take it more than 15 metres from my iPhone.
And the screen!! Who can use a screen that small? The buttons are at least 50% smaller than the recommended touch size.
Sell it! You say. Well why not?
I did consider that.
But then the watch started talking to me…
OK not actual talking but there were little, polite buzzes (like a butler’s cough) telling me I had a text message or that I’d completed my “Move Goal” for the day.
I even got awards for moving!
Slowly, I started to like the little thing. Going for longer walks just to please it. Trying to find more energetic exercise routines to impress it. Even standing up when it told me to.
And sleeping… I was getting to bed earlier just to see if I could convince it that I actually slept for eight hours.
Then I discovered that I could use it instead of my phone. I could leave my phone in my pocket or briefcase and just talk to the watch – OK this doesn’t work all the time and I’m told the sound quality isn’t the best, but it’s fun for me.
This got me thinking about our relationship with devices and why a cynic like me can be won over by Apple’s latest gimmick.
Putting aside the fact that Apple employs some very smart people, who specialise in anticipating the next gadget market, I came up with a theory.
What are the two things that the iWatch does for me that my other iDevices don’t?
- It tracks my movement, heartbeat, calories burnt and steps walked 24/7 and reports back to me – the scorecard.
- It acts as a conduit to my phone, notifying me when I have calls and messages. My favourite trick it being able to control my music from my wrist – the remote control.
While the second trick is nifty, it’s the first one that won me over.
Yes, we have FitBits and Garmen heart rate monitors, and yes they are probably cheaper than an iWatch (although I won this watch, so cost wasn’t really a factor for me) but the stats I get from the iWatch have actually changed the way I structure my day – my exercise and my sleep.
Now that I can see, in real time, how many steps I’ve walked, calories I’ve burned, kms I’ve walked and stories I’ve climbed, I walk further and faster and I even look for opportunities to walk up stairs!
There is a cartoon I rather like – it has two images.
Image 1. God is telling King Sisyphus he has to push a bolder up a hill only to watch it roll back down again. King Sisyphus doesn’t look happy.
Image 2. God tells King Sisyphus that he gets a ‘point’ each time he gets to the top of the hill. Happy King.
To me, the iWatch tracking my exercise and sleep has the same effect. Because I can track my movement, heart rate and calories, I now find meaning and purpose in simple tasks like walking to the supermarket to do the shopping.
We humans thrive on definition and positive feedback, my iWatch gives me both.
I still think the watch my husband gave me is prettier, but now I only wear it on special occasions (and try not to think about the calories I’m not tracking).