Tomorrowland and the Apple Watch

Tomorrowland and the Apple Watch


Tonight I went to see Tomorrowland with some friends and overall I enjoyed the overarching theme of the movie. It seems like for a lot of my life popular culture has cast the future as a dark and scary place filled with killer robots, zombies, aliens, and whatnot. Because education systems always lag behind I remember from an early age seeing leftover enthusiasm from the 1960–1980s about the space race, Disney World’s Tomorrowland, and the good that scientific progress could bring. One of the most striking moments of the movie is when the villain delivers a monologue about apocalypse apathy and how despite constant warnings the human race almost does the opposite of what it should and instead embraces the apocalypse because its a future that requires no investment from us today. The monologue was really striking to me because its true. In a world of 24/7 live news, Twitter, video games, books, movies, etc. there is a overarching apathy towards things getting better. People are quick to point out how broken things are, but they never are brave enough to say that we can change things and accept the reality that we can. The heroine of the movie is refreshing because she captures the idealized spirit of figures like Walt Disney by embodying the spirit that the future is not supposed to be a dark, horrible place where the world falls apart. With hard work and the right mindset we can work towards a brighter future.

Apple Watch Models

Where does the Apple Watch fit into this? I was having dinner with friends tonight and after about an hour the topic of the Apple Watch came up. I’ve had one for about a week and have been using it non-stop trying out different features and figuring out how it fits into my life. An observation from my friend struck me as the theme for the Apple Watch tonight. She described it as “non-obtrusive” and while she was talking about the physical aspects of it, I believe that is fits into the greater narrative of the watch. The Apple Watch is a device that pushes information to you when you need it in very much the opposite way from a smartphone or traditional computer where you launch apps or the web to obtain information. The Watch is meant to keep you notified of the digital aspects of your life without having to dive all the way into the interface in the way that you do with a smartphone. With notifications and glances it allows you to control the torrent of information that comes from the web to your smartphone while remaining more aware of the world around you. Its optimistic, but it just does a better job of keeping you informed without requiring all of your attention like a smartphone does now. While it replicates a lot of a functionality of a smartphone, it does so in a more natural way. Messages or emails are a glance away and watch apps let you remotely control services like Twitter, podcasts, fitness, weather, todos, financial transactions, etc. without having to get bogged down in UI. Naturally, the evolution of such a device would be for the next Apple Watch to break free of your iPhone and have its direction connection to the internet and let that be the hub of your digital life.

Everybody in the movie starts their adventure to Tomorrowland in the middle of a field

The Apple Watch makes me think of the computers of Tomorrowland. Computers are everywhere and nowhere in Tomorrowland. You see the villain having a smart band of sorts, but the technology of that world has advanced to the point that its just innate without the society and gets out of the way. It improves people’s lives without being creepy or wanting to murder you. People have natural interactions with it in such a fantastical way that the world comes across as a Disney World ride. When people ask me now about what its like to use an Apple Watch I tell them its like the Disney Magic Band, but for the rest of the world. That’s where I see the product category and computing going in the future. Computers will be present, but they will get out of the way and blend more into our environments in a natural and organic way, thus allowing us to life fuller lives with society, individuals, and the natural world.

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