On Watches and Emotions
“I can’t press the icons, my fingers are a bit too fat!”
That’s what my father said when trying the Apple Watch.
57 years on his skin, 40 of which spent with bike grease and motor oil on his hands.
Yes, he is a mechanic.
“That’s exactly why you can’t press it!” — I thought.
Maybe among the many personas the Apple teams have been thinking of, “fat-fingered-cyclist” was out of the picture. Imagine him swapping the unbelievably expensive bracelet with those patties. Impossible.
Then, probably, in his mind comes the whole idea of the “smart-watch”. Like a torrent, the conceptual model is fucking up with his brain.
A bit of his context. First of, a man that works his ass off since he is 14. A man coming from a family with no money, from south of italy. His values, definitely from another time, when the best way to invest money is to buy an apartment, bricks, solid and tangible things that you could sell in case of need. Watches, especially those expensive ones that we all know, are part of this category of values good to keep there in the safe. Leasing, pooling, sharing, social media, and all our other complexities are incomprehensible for him, both as a concept and as a lifestyle.
A man that got his first iPhone around three months ago, with a super all inclusive data package. Clearly one of the goals being showing off with the friends in the shop, as many people do.
Then comes the watch on his wrist.
Small, shiny, black, little thing, presented by his friends as a pandora of opportunities: track this, share that, open that other, see this, etc. etc.
It’s the future! They said.
Then I wear it.
Again, context. I love watches, since I got an important watch for my 18th birthday. Important not only for the label, but mostly because a gift from my parents. A symbol of becoming adult, of trust, of roots, of long lasting memories etc. etc.
An object that grew with me, graduated with me, saw places, met people, lived happy and sad moments with me somehow.
The Apple logo shows me it’s on-boarding time, like many times in these years. The spaceship is ready.
Smooth, here it goes! Aapps, Time, Beats. All inclusive.
I have 55 beats. I guess I am calm then, well, that’s good. The notifications are flowing too. They gently start vibrating on my wrist. Wow, the future.
Standard routine inherited from the phone are showing up as well together with tons of mails. Swipe down and archive, or skip, as the Watch suggests.
I talk to Siri, my understanding, non judgmental “her”. She is always the same, my invisible butler.
That’s all I have. Nothing more to say. I am speachless in front of the Watch.
Then the battery goes down. Damn, just a bunch of hours from my first shared beat and this addictive game is already over ?!
My pebble used to last a week almost. But let’s not be a hater. In the future it will be wirelessly charge - They say.
Oh yeah, my real watch has no batteries, it’s mechanical. You clip it on your wrist and it tracks time! Amazing.
Fast forward, now using my new expensively engineered Watch to go for a run, cycling, showering, at the table… life let’s say.
I already Instagrammed a picture of it, got a bunch of likes and giggled.
I sent a pic also to my good friend Ale, early adopter of everything and tech bestie since many years. He giggled with me.
I took a selfie with Johan, iOS dev besides handsome. It took us 2 minutes to put the iPhone against something, then we fired the Watch camera app, and weirdly shot a our selfie. Imagine now a tourist with selfie-stick, iphone and Watch. That’s an impossible threesome.
What is left now? Definitely data, backups somewhere, a lot of charging and recharging. Likes on Instagram, impressed people.
By mistake I started thinking at the other Apple products. They always helped me somehow. Office workflow, entertainment, communication etc.
But what about this Watch? Yes, I doodled dirty stuff to my other colleagues with it. It created a connection indeed. But how many other connections I destroyed? My girlfriend talking and my wrist vibrating, 10 notifications dragging my attention away, and pissing off my girlfriend. My colleagues talking to me and me spacing out on a dirty doodle on my wrist, giggling again (it was still the first day of watch, that’s why all this giggling).
I called people, feeling a bit like David Hasselhoff talking to his smart car, Kitt. I feel so dumb if I think about it. I was basically calling with my phone, through a bluetooth speaker strapped around my wrist. Try to do it a home..
“It feels to me it’s mostly a status”
My dad ingenuinely texted me.
“Yes, because your expensive watch is not?” — I told him, provocative as usual.
“Sure, but my watch means to me” — he said firmly (translated from italian..).
I like this as a good summary of my first feelings for the Apple Watch.
It didn’t mean anything to me. I think that that is the problem. As usual the expectations were too high, I don’t know why. It didn’t make my life easier as a tool. It didn’t make me feel “bold” as an expensive object. It didn’t add anything to my “digital journey of my everyday life”.
I only fell as if the value of time has been belittled, all the things that happen in minutes, hours and days are just swiped up and down and archived. All the things that happen together with it are swiped away as well.
It reduced my moments into data, stored and recorded.
Where are my emotions? Are they gonna be a collection of badges on my phone, backed up on iCloud? Not accessible without the need of an Internet connection maybe.
Getting too emotional now.
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