I am taking a first summer vacation the next few days. TheMarioBlog will resume Monday, June 22.
Dear Ms. Friedman,
So sorry to hear that you and your Apple Watch are parting ways. In this case parting is more sorrow than sweet, in my view. You see, I, too, got the Apple Watch just about the time it was available.
Unlike you, I am 68 years old and was pretty happy with my Patek Philippe, which, by the way, has great sentimental value as my late wife gave it to me for our 25th wedding anniversary, while in Paris. However, from the day I put on my Apple Watch, I only separate from it at night, when I connect it to the charger.
I now realize that I seldom looked at my Patek Philippe in the last few years since the iPhone arrived. The iPhone told me the time in big, easy to read numbers, so I just wore the Patek Philippe as jewelry and it was nice to have it with me. Period.
The Apple Watch changed the Mario-watch dynamics. I now find myself relying on the smartest of smart watches for a variety of things, NONE having to do with the telling of time, which is why I totally disagree with you when you write that "I do not want to be defined by a talking point on my wrist."
The calendar—this, to me, is the most salient and functional feature. I can see what my next appointment or activity is at a glance.
The weather—it is right there on the face of the watch and if I touch it, it gives me more details. As a person who changes cities and countries (due to my work as a media consultant), I do need to know whether I need an umbrella or a sweater. The watch reminds me of what it should be, at a glance.
The fitness—You particularly disliked this feature, stating that "the tracking of my steps, the measuring of my heart rate, the telling me to stand up when I am in the middle of an article — seems more like a burden than freedom." You also wrote that you know when you are in good shape—or not, and that you don’t even like exercise machines telling you what you have accomplished. I have been a marathon runner and I still run daily. The watch is a constant companion and that makes the difference. I can’t tell you the number of times that I forgot to take my Fitbit , or to connect to the Runstatistics app on the iPhone before the start of a running session. In those occasions, I am saved by the Apple Watch, which is constantly monitoring the steps I take, the calories I burn and the length of my runs. Can’t top that.
The news—You mention that it is difficult to read on the small face of a watch. However, we don’t really read in depth on the Apple Watch. We glance. We get informed thru two or three short headlines. We decide then whether we wish to read the story (on another device). I confess that in the five weeks I have been the proud owner of the Apple Watch, I only felt the urge to read a complete story based not he promptings from my watch once: it was a story in The Washington Post about honey and how we may run out of it in the US. Yes, it was not breaking news that seduced me to read, but an “invisible” story that surprised me. You see, editors can still surprise on the small canvas of the watch.
Commands—You mention that you don’t need a watch to remind you that you need to stand up when you are in the middle of writing an article. I consider it a great reminder and I am getting up more often because the watch is alerting me to the fact that I, like millions of other Americans, spend too many hours sitting down in front of my computer. So, bravo to the Apple Watch for keeping an eye on me.
The curious—One of the reasons your relationship with the Apple Watch was severed, is that "when I started wearing the Apple Watch, ...... it became a subject of conversation no matter where I was: in meetings at work, at the bagel store, at my son’s track meet. It has been so everywhere, marketed to so many people, there was just no mistaking it." Like you, I have been approached by strangers everywhere from the subway in New York (the Apple Watch is quite popular with riders of Train 6), to airport lounges, to the barber shop I frequent in the Upper East Side. It is curiosity and excitement and I don’t mind doing a demonstration for those who ask for it. Their favorite feature? Health and fitness, followed by the second button that leads to the 12 contacts you access more often. And, yes, people I meet want to try my Apple Watch on, too. Then they want a selfie with the Apple Watch attached to their wrist. It's all fun.
The surprise—I always hear people say that the Apple Watch is “prettier” and more “stylish” than they thought. “It is not a nerdy gadget,” a young woman told me in Copenhagen. “I am surprised.”
Apple knew what it was doing when it designed these pieces to be as attractive in style as they are functional in what they do. But you seem to agree with that, too:
"The watch isn’t actually a fashion accessory for the tech-happy. It’s a tech accessory pretending to be a fashion accessory. I just couldn’t fall for it."
So, Ms. Friedman, don’t quit the Apple Watch yet. Give it another chance. One more week and you may even be happy that you stood up that 7th time in a day because your Apple Watch reminded you.
Vanessa Friedman's column
Why I’m Breaking Up With the Apple Watch