Society as a whole is addicted to technology – primarily smart phones.
You can’t walk down the street without seeing almost everyone holding a phone to their face, not talking on it – but staring at the screen. I find myself checking my iPhone every minute for new notifications, and if I don’t have any, I search through social media to see what other people are doing.
When I first heard about the Apple watch, I thought, “great. Another piece of technology to become addicted to.” And this, I thought, would be even worse than a phone, because it’s something you can’t escape. You’re wearing it.
But earlier today, an article in The New York Times opened my eyes to a potential benefit of the Apple watch that I hadn’t considered. Tech writer Farhad Manjoo wrote about his week with the Apple watch, and tracked his feelings about the product on a daily basis.
What surprised me was his epiphany about the Apple watch keeping him from checking his phone constantly. He mentioned going to lunch with a colleague and being able to go hours without looking at his phone and being rude while spending time with another person. “With the Apple Watch on my wrist, my mind remains calm, my compulsion to check the phone suddenly at bay,” Manjoo said. Although he could glance at the watch to see his notifications, he didn’t have the opportunity to respond to them because the Apple watch doesn’t yet offer these features for every app. But Manjoo noticed the notification was enough. He wasn’t distracted by the watch at all, and his colleague didn’t notice Manjoo’s glances at his watch.
I was glad to see that Manjoo, a self-proclaimed phone addict, addressed this problem and gave the opposite stance that I was expecting. I assumed that having a phone-like object on your wrist would be even more addicting, but I understand how getting notification hits on your wrist could be just as satisfying as holding your phone and feeling the need to respond to all of your notifications.
Although I’m sure the Apple watch will eventually offer more features for responding to notifications, I think for now the watch might help phone addiction problems for busy people who feel like they can’t pull away – at least from the outside. Manjoo ended his diary with an insightful sentence that I have to include, addressing the fact that the Apple watch doesn’t offer many entertainment apps designed to distract the user.
“The watch, for now, is all business, aimed solely at improving your productivity. For some users, that alone might be worth several hundred dollars.”