Does the Apple Watch Free Us or Enslave Us?

Image credit: Apple

The Apple Watch keeps us better connected, and that can be a good or bad thing depending on what one thinks is a good thing to be connected to. And who gets to decide? Me? Outside forces? Why am I suddenly so attached to this device?


This morning I had some things to attend to that disrupted my normal routine. As a result, I didn't put my Apple Watch on right after getting dressed.

When I realized my Apple Watch wasn't on my wrist, I had the oddest sensation. Irritation. Mild annoyance. Discomfort. A feeling of being incomplete.

Now as a life-long observer of technology, this feeling immediately demanded an explanation. I started to wonder if my feeling was a good thing or a bad thing and what the values were that drove my feelings.

In other words, was I being slowly enslaved? Or was I experiencing a natural sensory deprivation? After all, what formerly blind person, after receiving the surgical gift of sight, wants to go back to the darkness?

External Influences

A story might help here. I remember my first boss at Apple. Soon after I was hired, he briefed me.

Apple is going to issue you a cell phone. Apple will pay for this cell phone and monthly charges. You will carry it everywhere. It will always be charged. When I call your cell phone, you will answer. Right away. No exceptions.

He said it with his typical charm. After all, he was one of the best bosses I ever had. It was just the way things worked in his group, and so I rolled with it.

But that experience is always on my mind when I think about external influences. After all, I am a self-starter and an autodidactic kind of person. When external events try to control me, I often reflect on whether they are a good thing or something artificial, something cooked up for the good of other people.

In turn, all this goes back to my original thinking about how to set up my new Apple Watch. "How I Feel About My Apple Watch After a Week." My goal was not only to conserve battery power (something I need not have worried about), but to make sure that the watch served my own purposes.

Of course, one must have perspective about what good purposes are. Often, as a writer, being accessible to other people is a good thing. Being a member of a team demands a certain amount of connectivity. And so, there's always a balance between a time for isolated contemplation and a time for socializing.

Technical Joy

Added to all that is the technical beauty of the Apple Watch. As a life-long wearer of wrist watches, I appreciate the technical beauty and design of the Apple Watch. More important than that, however,  it has helped get a better handle on my daily activities in a quantitative way. I will be better informed about my fitness and better able to meet goals.

I am forced to conclude that the Apple Watch is a beautiful instrument that is serving me well. If I'm out of the office, with the iPhone resting on my desk, I can still get a message or a phone call, and I have the liberty to answer or let the iPhone handle it for the time being. I am always up to date on the outside temperature and what jacket to grab in my way out for errands. I am giddy with technical joy every time I use Apple Pay on the iPhone 6, and using the Apple Watch will bring yet more smiles.

Using the Apple Watch for good purposes is a joy, and that's what it was designed to do: make life better. I reject those who sarcastically suggest that this watch is just another way for a corporation to take our money and control us.

When I got that uneasy feeling this morning it was because I missed the use of a finely crafted device that I enjoy using and which serves me well.

I'm not inclined to go back to the darkness.