Tech should work for you and solve your problems

It shouldn’t only look good but work for you and your needs.

This is one of the devices I use everyday to help manage my blood sugars. It doesn’t solve all the issues I need it too, but what it does solve it does well.

While I wait for the Destiny 2 server to let me in, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the Apple Event. Something occurred to me and that something made me feel somewhat humbled.

I still use an iPhone 6 that I got about two months after release. It serves me very well for the things I want and need it to do: communicate, get information, listen to music and track my health. I’m happy with it but that’s not to say that I wouldn’t take an iPhone X if somebody offered me one; it looks amazing. But a phone has to fulfil my criteria, and it won’t yet.

There was plenty of banging on around when the iPhone 7 came into the wilds without a headphone jack (so I won’t add to that), but as a Type 1 Diabetic, a big part of my health tracking is monitoring my blood sugars. One of my tracking devices uses the jack to interact with blood testing strips to feed back into the iPhone. So, the option was not to upgrade to a 7. Fair enough, and I’ll wait till something comes out that will work just as well.

The thing with tech, and this is my opinion on the matter, is people are taken by shiny features. We often forget that we need tech to work for us. This is why I like Apple products; within our house, everything talks to each other. Photos sync with “the cloud” and are viewable across devices without me doing anything. The same with contacts, music and other random bits. The tech works for me; I do very little with it and it does so much for me.

What’s this to do with the Apple Event? I’ve not watched it but I’ve looked over the event notes and there was no mention about one thing I was looking for.

I wanted a Apple Watch that can measure my blood sugars.

They are working on it and I thought today would be the day they announce it. Alas, I’ve not seen anything. It’s a shame — I’m not saying that Apple have disappointed me or anything like that — it’s more that nothing speaks to me on the level where I would go out of my way to get a new device.

I see on Twitter that people swayed by the shiny new iPhone X or 4k Apple TV, all that stuff. But nobody ever seems to say this will help with…” or “that will make my life easier”.

I admit, shiny is nice and I’m an advocate that polish is a requirement in tech. This is why I buy into Apple as, to me, they have the best polish. But we focus too much on those shiny things. When there’s “fan” talk saying “Android has had that for months” it’s nothing of real significance. Yeah, faster processor or bigger screen might be better, but that’s a personal use case. We base how good our tech is on numbers, stats and figures most of the time. Tech should be personal. The fact a phone is four times faster means little, it should help me achieve tasks better*.

If you have the money and the new product works as well as the current device then why the hell not? But when we talk about something in terms of pure numbers without context, does it solve any problems? That’s why I want my tech to work for me, I am a person that has tasks I want to solve, a bigger screen won’t solve that for me.

So whilst we all ogle at the new phone/watch/tv box, we should also ask a simple question.

Does it solve my problems and does it do it well?

I ask this when I create anything, and I also ask of it from the products I buy. There are exceptions, but rarely. Even video games have to answer that to me as entertainment is a problem in this context. Things need to look good, but they need to solve issues, otherwise it’s just shiny.

  • I know this is an awkward term to use “better” but there is reason. Sometimes things need to slow down for a better perspective then if it was super quick. I’ve created some lighting quick solutions that I’ve had to slow down as users felt it broke in a way. So speed is sometimes a bad thing given the context, so I like to focus on the more general term “better”.