Bad Apple versus good Apple

Leah Boynton
NEWS EDITOR

The beautiful Southern California sunshine radiates on Whittier College students as it hits the tops of their ungrateful heads, their eyes buried in their phones, their gazes averted from the people briskly walking by them. Eye contact is a rarity of our generation, considering how the world now revolves around technology. 

Although technology has many benefits, it has also disconnected us from the people who are physically present. The last thing we need is gimmicky technology like the Apple Watch to distract us from the people around us.

According to CNN Money, when the Apple Watch was released in April of 2015, 3.6 million units were shipped out within the first three months. In July of 2016, sales dropped by 55 percent with an average of 1.6 million units purchased. Due to such a niche market, data analysts believe that the sales will stay the same until the product is completely redone. So why are so many people changing their minds about the Apple Watch?

One factor may be the cost. The original Apple Watch was sold for $369 to accompany a phone that costs between $500 and $700. The thought of spending close to $1,000 on a phone and a fancy gadget to strap to your wrist is simply atrocious. 

As Apple expands the variety of its products, the costs increase as well. For those who want to follow the latest trends, they have to be able to have the money to afford Apple’s watch bands, charging dock stations, and headphones,  not to mention the latest Apple Watch model, which is now available for $1,249. Unfortunately, the only people who can have these luxurious accessories are those who have money to blow. 

Having an Apple Watch isn’t required to live an organized and connected life. I believe there is more value in writing things down by hand, as shown by a study titled “The Pen is Mightier Than The Keyboard,” conducted by Pam Muller and Daniel Oppenheimer. Muller and Oppenheimer found that handwritten notes are more likely to be processed and remembered than notes typed on a keyboard.

Recently, The Wall Street Journal posted a video that chronicled a woman’s daily life with an Apple Watch strapped to her wrist — note: there is a follow-up video that features the Apple Watch II. The video showed how the woman was easily distracted by her watch and disengaged from the world around her. It also showed how she struggled just to use the watch because of its small screen size. 

The video’s central argument was that while the watch might be interesting and cool, it doesn’t serve a great function for daily life and isn’t a necessity to living. If anything, the watch distracts from the person in front of you, and gives you a reason to check your wrist instead of listening to your friend over lunch, or looking outside to see what the weather is like. I personally believe in the value of being 100 percent present in the world, and I think that the Apple Watch takes away from our ability to do that. 

The Guardian writer Alex Hern recently released an article titled, “Why I have finally taken off the Apple Watch for the last time.” In the article, Hern wrote that after nine months of using the watch, he realized that the majority of its applications were useless to him and that the only one that he found important was the weather app. He admitted that the small screen size made it difficult to use, and he would end up pulling out his regular phone instead. 

Hern argues that the watch was created to fill a revenue hole formed by a lack of growth in regards to their smartphone, and not from the demand of customers.

The problems that people have reported about this product show how it is essentially useless and a complete waste of money. All Apple does is encourage users to disconnect from society and plug into the world of technology. While Apple tells us to grow closer with technology and buy these watches, I think it’s our responsibility to attempt to maintain our relationship with nature and, more importantly, with the people around us. Don’t become a slave to technology. Don’t buy an Apple Watch.

 

Nathan Acuña
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

When the Apple Watch II was released last month it wasn’t, as some critics saw it, one of many signs that we’re headed toward a dark, Orwellian apocalypse. There’s nothing wrong with a little handy on-wrist tech. 

A February 2016 Pew Poll surveyed about 1000 Americans to see if they use a smartphone. 76 percent reported using some sort of smartphone while half of those 76 percent said they specifically used an iPhone. We’re clearly past the point of no return on smartphone dependency, so why go back?

Where are we when it comes to wearable technologies, like the Apple Watch? In comparing the iPhone to its watch counterpart, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple sold twice as many watches as iPhones in each device’s debut year. 

According to a 2016 PwC, an online publication, consumer intelligence report, 27 percent of U.S. based participants reported using a smartwatch, which is a six percent increase of smartphone users from the last report in 2014. This newer technology is increasingly becoming another aspect of our daily lives. 

While some think this technology is making people disconnect from reality, there’s evidence to suggest that people believe their “gadgets” will actually supplement their public life, not erode it. A 2016 Digital Pulse article used data to explain how wearable technology really aids social interaction, as opposed to disrupting it. The report detailed a three-fold increase over a two--year period from 2014 to 2016 in the likeliness of consumers to find themselves more sociable because of their smart devices. 

In a follow-up to her original video-article about Apple’s original Apple Watch, Wall Street Journal reporter Joanna Stern goes through a day in her life in which she depends on the Apple Watch II. In this video, she uses her Apple Watch as an alarm clock, a GPS, a music player (connected to her phone), to pay at a register, to check her e-mail and messages, and even to tell her to take a moment to breathe. From Stern’s video, the multitude of function in this one little watch sounds amazing.

Even though I commute to Whittier College, as a busy college student, I don’t see my Dad or siblings most of the week. We all have busy schedules that just never seem to align. However, as long as I can text them when I get a minute, and they can text me, I feel better knowing that I at least communicated with them. 

I certainly don’t think the connection is diminished because it was over text instead of in person, because that’s all we can manage. New technologies keep us connected, even if it’s in the smallest way.