Watching My iPhone Warily Watch My Apple Watch
Were I a tech journalist rather than just another voice on the Internet, what I’m about to say would likely be read as click-bait, albeit a rather weak attempt at it. Since I am just a dude with a blog, one with nothing to gain, I trust you will take me at my word, already suggested by the title. Here goes.
I’m beginning to think of my iPhone as mere companion to my Apple Watch, with both secondary to my iPad Pro.
With Apple’s Sept 7 Keynote now confirmed, my thoughts quite naturally turn to matters iPhone. Having long before signed up for T-Mobile’s JUMP! program, which, in a nutshell, entails my paying $10 extra a month for the privilege of being able to upgrade after paying only half the phone’s value. They claim to sell the phones with no price markup, and my limited research suggests such is the case. What all this means is I always upgrade, sight unseen; might as well. I’ll save the headphone jack controversy for another post.
Between the releases of the 6s and the upcoming 7, among many other events in my life, most painful and/or undesired, my wife effectively ended our marriage and essentially kicked me out of my own home. I nabbed my current abode in a foggy rush, and choose rather poorly as a result: Three bedrooms with two sitting entirely empty and unused, the rent overpriced even were all three rooms filled.
But the house does possess one remarkable trait that makes it rather attractive: I can walk to work. Easily. Quickly. Doorstep to office door, at a leisurely pace no less? About 7 minutes. As a college professor, I need not fret over three-piece suits and pit stains. Sometimes I do wear suits, or did, before my life went to shit, but I did so more from a sense of style than obligation. Yesterday, I wore cheap Old Navy flip-flops.
Having neither wife nor friends besides a jackass named Angie who lives several states away, I don’t travel much, be it by car, plane, train, or ship. Or helium balloon. Don’t get out much these days in general, really.
Meanwhile, after my loving wife told me to fuck off, I, like ugly Americans everywhere, consoled myself with a credit card. In no time at all, there was a new love in my life—the iPad Pro. My 6s+ looked askance, pretending to be above it all but noticeably jealous just the same. And for good reason.
In the past year, I decided to live a case-free lifestyle. Fuck it. If I’m contemplating suicide for myself, why worry over the possible death of a beloved device when, to this point, none have died or even cracked? (I just jinxed myself, I realize.) Case-free, even the 12.9 can be easily held in one hand, if not for very long. With two hands, though, it’s like air. But not that Air.
So it travels with me about the house. I’ve constructed two makeshift standing desks to help with back pain stemming from my spinal fusion surgery. But, like really makeshift, as in the barest of bones, as in one is just a bookcase. The point is, the iPad has become my constant companion, like a dog in that one respect. I take calls from Jackass on the iPad. I answer student questions via the Remind app on the iPad. I’m writing this on the iPad. The iPhone languishes.
Aside from a better camera, what can the iPhone offer me? How to entice someone such as myself, one with few mobile-computing needs. It gets worse. In private, when taking routine photos neither important nor artistic, which is to say, when taking a photo, I am not above reaching for the big boy. Relax. I said I only do so in private. Maybe in class, too, for purposes of attendance verification. But that’s it!
Regardless of camera, when it comes to editing photos or videos, I look first to the iPad, given my rather janky eyesight, pun intended. (That is not dead which may eternal lie, but portions of my optic nerve sure are. The other eye is just age.) Many apps aren’t optimized for the larger screen despite claims of universality, but I can usually make do. Guess universal just means won’t immediately crash.
Sometimes, when home alone, I to talk to the iPad Pro and I don’t mean Siri alone. Siri makes me anxious. And it’s always the “iPad Pro” in my spoken vernacular, not simply “iPad,” as the Air 2, my only previous tablet, never captured my imagination in the same way or held my attention to the same degree. I talk to exercise my jaw muscles and to hear a voice, any voice. So I say, “Good morning, iPad Pro.”
Hmm. The purple bunny goes by Bunny. Methinks I’m not very good with naming. Just as well I never wanted to procreate; would’ve named my own child Child. What if a second arrived? Kid. Still Children collectively, of course. I digress.
I could almost not even have an iPhone. My iPad isn’t cellular enabled, but for those that are, could it theoretically act as THE phone or phone replacement. I can only assume so. I wouldn’t because, well, just because. One day I may live again, take calls in public, maybe date. Maybe. But my 128 MB 6s+ cost as much as my 12.9-inch, 128 GB iPad Pro, but I use it only a tenth as often. Think I need to downgrade. Not a sentence I ever thought I’d say.
Plus, it wouldn’t really be a downgrade if it’s just a smaller form factor or has lesser storage. Ooo, but what of rumors of the new dual camera lens only coming to the plus model? Apple, please, I’m going through a rough patch; I don’t need the complexity that attends additional choice. Let’s agree to simplify. I’ll still buy.
Thankfully, the Watch works with any of the newer phones, though I for one would love to pair it with the iPad. Clearly, I’m an odd bird, though. I unabashedly love the Apple Watch. And yes, I took the risk and installed the developer beta despite the danger and, uhm, my not actually being a developer. Hey, I hope to be one day, current status as busy, depressed English professor notwithstanding. WatchOS 3 is soo much faster. Amazingly so.
Thing is, I was happy with the prior incarnations, with the first watchOS, even. Because I know what I want from technology. I know our lives haven’t actually gotten easier, at least not as “promised” in the post-Industrial Revolution and post-World War years. Machines often create the very problems they solve. I know humans were able to conduct business perfectly well for centuries before the computer came along, thank you very much. I know the special effects of Star Wars were just as amazing to human eyes in 1977 as were those for Jurassic Park in 1993 because it’s more about perception than technology. I also know the CGI of the Avengers is already beginning to show its age.
In short, I don’t expect revolutions. Yes, progress of a kind is made, in areas as cost, safety, speed, efficiency. But evolution isn’t what I chase, either. I chase a bigger fish—distraction. Distraction from the pain of living, if from nothing else. If we’re honest, truly honest, doesn’t distraction lie at the heart, the dark, beating heart, of much of what we do, as techies, as humans?
And what could be more distracting than a computer on one’s wrist? Actually, the Oculus Rift is more distracting, but come now, we’re not barbarians!