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September 10, 2014

In Defense of the Apple Watch

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On paper, I’m probably the last person anyone would guess who works for a high-tech company and is involved in blogging and social media. I’m satisfied with the basics- I have my naturopath on speed dial, I’ve been known to “forget” my phone at home and I will use my 1962 Rolleiflex 2.8f medium-format camera even after I’m left with no other choice but to make the film myself.

So you could say I was a little surprised this morning when I found myself defending the latest target of “haters” everywhere: the Apple Watch.

Admittedly, some of the reactions that spread across the web were hilarious.

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Or, this.

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Joking aside, the unveiling of Apple’s new “baby” sparked alot of disdain from unlikely sources. Their argument? That the watch is an unnecessary, superfluous toy with little to offer the public at large, and will certainly not make the world any “better”.

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Mashable blogger Todd Wasserman attacked Apple’s new technology, listing five reasons that he won’t buy the new watch:

“1. I’ve never had one, so why do I need it now?

2. It could make my life worse.

3. There are cheaper ways to track your workouts.

4. It will wreak havoc on what’s left of my concentration.

5. On a practical level, I’m probably going to wind up breaking the damn thing.”

Not only was I shocked to see these reasons cited from a writer whose writing focuses on technology, but I was even more surprised to see these opinions published on Mashable. Haven’t similar arguments been made against every single man-made creation since time immemorial and certainly since the internet took innovation and connectivity to the next level?

More importantly, this criticism draws attention to a much large question: which technologies, if any, are practical or even necessary for the average consumer?

We were all getting along well before the iPhone and even before the home computer,yet, we adopted them anyway. As mentioned above, I definitely appreciate taking time away from the pinging and I am wary of technology’s degredation of the human “experience”, but to decide that the latest Apple wearable is where we need to stand our ground is unreasonable.

I agree that Apple products are introduced to the world with way too much fanfare and too little scrutiny. I too await to hear more details from Apple before I break out the confetti and, no, I won’t be the first or even the second person on my block to wear the Apple Watch (I’m yet to try on Google Glass and I’m totally fine with that). However, questioning the validity of the product’s very existence simply because things were fine before yesterday or because you decided that the line in the sand was drawn after the smartphone is an argument that was put to rest the first time Henry Ford stepped foot in the Model T and probably even before that.

– Jason Naparstek

jason@zulaapp.com