Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Apple Watch

I am not one of those people who will stand in line over night to be the first to get the new Apple gadget.  Don't get me wrong, I am a dyed in the wool Macintosh evangelist. I take the 1984 Ad campaign introducing the Macintosh as gospel truth.  Mac is the "Computer for the rest of us".

If you are too young or now too old to remember that 1984 ad introducing the Macintosh, it was a classic.  Directed by Ridley Scott, it was shot with depressingly grey tones as an homage to Orwell's literary vision of 1984.  A hypnotized crowd of blandly dressed people stare soullessly at a movie screen while an equally bland talking head spouts nonsense.  A young blond woman sporting a white tank top tee shirt and ample legs extending from a pair of red shorts skimpy enough to make you wonder why they stopped at just that part of her ass, bursts into the theatre and runs down the aisle with a big hammer. She is full of color against this very grey backdrop.  With the power and grace of an Olympic athlete she hurls the huge sledge hammer into the film of the talking head.  It shatters the screen and breaks the peoples trance.  The announcer says "Macintosh... the computer for the rest of us."  They had me at the red shorts.  

I traded some writing work for my first Macintosh. It was the original model bought by my friend Harry who had already up graded. It would signal a Macintosh arms race for Harry. Harry is someone who will stand in line for the next Apple gadget and has the money to pay cash.  In the 80's I was next up to receive the hand me downs from Harry's upgraded computers. At the time new Macs were coming out almost every 16 months. Harry always wanted the latest and the fastest. The hand me down machines were loaded with software (another aspect to the "Mac arms race") but never any instructions or documentation.  That meant for me to fully use these new toys I was gifted,  I had to figure them out on my own.  Little did I know this is exactly the way to really understand something.  To this day my understanding of Macs and iStuff is better than average.  

I have the latest iPad, iPhone and  iMac. I even have the latest app on the iPhone which I have used the average number of times... two. Once when I bought it and once when I showed a friend how terrific it was.  But I do NOT have an Apple the way why didn't they call it iTime?
Here are my reasons. You may have a much different list.
I love the idea of knowing what time it is. Unless there is a clock I can read in the dark near by,  I can't sleep well.  I roll over several times in the night to calculate how much time I have to continue sleeping. If I don't see what time it is, how can I calculate?  Okay, a professional might see this as "other " than a clock problem... but still.  
Modern smart phones have taken all the fun out of knowing the time.  They are never wrong, never need winding, they adjust immediately to time zones and daylight savings time. But it is the accessibility of that information that is troubling.  It is the reason I never liked a pocket watch because  since time is of the moment, time should be easily accessible. It is sometimes inconvenient to reach into your pocket to get the time.  For me smart phone clocks are like pocket watches. Even though it is a better gage of time, it is not easy to retrieve.   I like the time to be only a twist of my left wrist away.   I got very good at sneaking a look at my watch when I was on stage at a comedy club, but now? Try to sneak a look at the time when your "watch" is in your back pocket the next time you are trying to think of an excuse to get out of a meeting. You might think that having a watch with a million different faces on your wrist would be perfect.  Not so. 
Here is my issue with having the extension to a smart phone on my wrist. It only the problem of getting the smart phone out of my pocket to see the time.  While solving that issue it creates a plethora of others. 
This is what happens when I have that obsessive need to know the hour and minute of the day.  I take my iPhone 6s out of my back pocket, touch the home button to light it up so I can see the time... the only activity I wanted to do at that moment.  Flash! Up on the screen obscuring the time is a notification or two.  I missed a text, voice message and a missed call, there are 15 new Facebook messages, and 10 new likes, there is email I haven't seen and CNN (Crisis News Now) has an alert that is vague enough to make me doubt my personal safety. I immediately click on CNN to see if I am in danger. The news story turns out to be an event that happened on the other side of the globe. The text message is in response to the missed call but the issue was solved with the voice message. A Friend has sent me a video of some jackass trying to ride a unicycle on a power line, which results in a concussion for the unicyclist and a blackout on the west side of town. Although I take the bait, all the Facebook likes are directed to a cartoon I posted three days ago. There is an email that needs some attention so I spend the next five minutes trying to thumb type a response. (Don't get me started on auto-correct... that adds five minutes to any response)  I touch "send" and  hear that satisfying "swoosh" sound meaning the email has been sent. I have accomplished instant communication. I click the iPhone to sleep and it goes back in my rear pocket.  I have wasted a lot of time but I don't know how much..... because I FORGOT TO LOOK AT THE CLOCK. 
Even if the Apple watch was thin enough not to make me forget that it adds several inches to my wrist size (big watches do not go gently under a long sleeve shirt) it would not work for me.  AND although I could set up the watch with the classic face of Mickey Mouse, his arms doing a Vanna White to tell me the time, there is still that problem of my attention span.
Here is me with an Apple Watch. I sneak a look at the time because what I am doing is boring the hell out of me. Pop! Up comes some abbreviated push notices (tiny enough to fit on the tiny screen) of things needing my attention. Mickey's hands tell me that not only am I bored, I am wasting what little time I have left. It might mean I have to take my smart phone out of my pocket to respond.  I don't think there is a way to "type" on an Apple Watch. If there is I suppose you have to use your eye lash. So... no Apple Watch for me.  Strictly old school for a while yet.
However, here is a modern day plan for getting out of a boring meeting/lunch in the smart phone age. Don't wear a watch, keep your smart phone in your pocket.  When you are bored with the conversation, look perplexed. Say to the other person, "Wow do you know what time it is?"  He/She will take out their smart phone to tell you the time. While they are busy replying "like" to all the puppy pictures on their Facebook timeline, responding to texts, posting a tweet, and returning the calls they missed. Slip quickly away.  
Works for me.
As you were,

1 comment:

Gwyn Oswin said...

I really enjoyed the descriptive imagery in this one! And I completely agree in regards to traditional watches... which I would be wearing if mine didn't need a battery.