The reason I don’t want an Apple Watch has nothng to do with its look, functionality, price or battery life. The reason I have no interest in an Apple Watch (or any of its competitors) is I can’t afford to be connected to a device that destroys my productivity with an endless stream of chirps, beeps, buzzes or vibrations every time an email, tweet, text, etc. arrives.
A number of readers sent me this article on the luxury status of quietude: The Cost of Paying Attention: Silence is now offered as a luxury good.
Why is quietude now a luxury? There are two reasons:
1. Being chained to the network is now the default. Everyone on the bus is either talking on a mobile phone or staring at a mobile device. Whatever status there once was in being connected has completely evaporated. As I have noted here before, the highest possible status now is reserved for those who cannot waste their valuable time being accessible to everyone with a network connection.
2. Thinking clearly and productively is impossible when a train of thought is constantly interrupted by incoming messages and notifications.
Being constantly interrupted and distracted is fine if your work is routine and doesn’t require any concentrated thought or creativity, and this is why the heavily-hyped myth that being connected boosts your productivity is so risible: the Apple Watch certainly notifies you of your meeting in Cupertino in an hour, but since you’ve been connected to the network every waking hour of every day, you’ve had no mental space to come up with any ideas worthy of a meeting in Cupertino.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? All these networked devices are supposed to boost your productivity by flooding you with mostly useless/trivial messages and notifications, when the reality is being connected is a sure way to destroy productivity.
Yes, salespeople have to be connected 24/7 to respond to customers, but outside of sales and on-call workers, being connected offers diminishing returns that are directly correlated to the concentration required to get the work done. The need to concentrate is just as high in skilled manual trades as it is for creative-content work.
Some form of derangement or collapse of productivity is the inevitable consequence of being constantly distracted and interrupted.
Getting a message or notification of any kind feeds our desire to appear worthy and important, but the ubiquity of messages and notifications now matches the ubiquity of adverts. The status value of being connected is now zero. The status value is in being unconnected.
If Apple offers a watch that can only display time and date, I am interested–at $40 or less. I like the look of the Apple Watch, and as an accessory that displays time and date, it is functional to me, because I leave phones and other devices off to avoid being distracted. A watch that cannot interrupt or distract me is the only watch with any productive value.