Technology As A Lubricant

There was an intriguing proposal made recently that a smartwatch is meant to be a lubricant for your life. What the speaker meant by this was that the smartwatch is not there to replace your smartphone, but to take over the responsibilities whereby a smaller, standalone device would be more efficient at completing that task. With all of the hubbub about the Apple Watch, and all other smartwatches in general, this was a welcoming proposal.

Many people have lambasted the idea of smartwatches, saying that they aren’t ready for prime time because they require the user to have their phone with them. They say that the smartwatch is useless because you can’t reply to emails and text messages, fill out spreadsheets, effectively read a news article, etc. What the statement above brought to light is these are not the purposes for the smartwatch. Do we disregard a remote control because we can’t watch TV on it? No. It is simply a standalone device that makes it easier to use a television. That is what a smartwatch, at this point in time, is for: making it easier to use some of the capabilities of your smartphone.

When Apple first talked about Apple Pay, everyone was very excited. Now we wouldn’t need to carry around our credit and debit cards because we could simply use our phones to make transactions. The Apple Watch makes that capability much more seamless. When you’re walking down the street listening to a song or podcast through your headphones and the music is disturbed by a chime to let you know that you have received a new text message or email, you have to pull out your phone to see who it is from and what they said. The Apple Watch makes that much more seamless. It is a lubricant for your life.

You can open your car or apartment door with it. With the apps that developers make, you’ll be able to lock and unlock your computer, trigger your coffee maker to start brewing, control the heating in your home, remind you of things on your to-do list when you are at a certain location or at a certain time. Yes, these are all things that can currently be done by your smartphone, but wouldn’t it better if these tasks were even easier?

There was an article on Medium titled “Time is the most valuable thing you can spend” where the author recited a study that determined that we spend about 444 minutes a day looking at a screen, whether it be a computer monitor, TV, or phone. 151 of those 444 minutes, on average, are spent looking at your phone. With the varying amount of things that we use our phones for, that number doesn’t seem off base. Though, that is a large amount of your day wasted, especially if you are spending minutes reaching for the phone, unlocking the phone, searching for a particular app on the phone, and opening the app just to do one small task, such as reading a text message. If that text message just appeared on your wrist and you could spend 5 seconds completing the task as opposed to 2 minutes, imagine the time that would be saved over the course of a year, two years, and the rest of your life.

From this perspective, this is prime time for smartwatches. We need them now more than ever to save us from having to rely on our smartphones for dealing with all of these simple tasks and lubricating our lives so we can spend more timing living them with more ease and less time fumbling with our phones.