This isn’t about politics, or even time itself .
It’s about how our insatiable need for technology supersedes practicality.
Before I dive into it, I’ll remind you that I would class myself as a geek – I love technology, software, and all things that go beep. I’ve always wanted to own a time machine. But I’ve learned to be more pragmatic as my life has progressed and watched Dr Who instead.
Some people may remember watching the Dick Tracy Show on television (an animated cartoon created a long time ago in 1961).
The lead character, Dick Tracy had this amazing watch which completely captured my attention. As well as being able to tell the time on the watch, the detective used it as a two-way radio to keep in touch with his team.
I remember being fascinated to a point where my friends and I used to draw watches on our forearms with texta markers, and spend hours yelling instructions into them as we played detectives. The time was always 2 freckles past a hair, but we had fun all the same.
Subsequently, I remember joining tin cans with string to make the first telephone system I owned. I then moved to making crystal radio sets and my first ‘walkie talkie’ – made from components sourced from an electronic parts catalogue and clumsily soldered together.
My first mobile phone needed a briefcase to cart it around and it’s only function was to make and take telephone calls. I think that’s why they called it a telephone. These days I guess you’d have to call it a Dumb Phone.
I suppose it’s time to get to the point.
Whereas I adore the clean lines and simplicity offered by Apple’s newest product, I can’t help but wonder if it will survive the same test of time as my grandfather’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual. I wonder whether the people buying one today will be able to pass theirs down to their grandchildren, believing that the precision craftsmanship, solid engineering and timeless style will endure in the same way. A few bits of stainless steel and a miniaturised circuit board just don’t have the same allure as precision-machined cogs, wheels and gears.
You could test that theory by giving your old Apple 3 or old Nokia mobile phone to a teenager as a gift. Irrespective of how much you extoll the virtues of the technology contained within the slightly smart and possibly dumb phone, you’re going to get a lukewarm reception at best. Why? Because it’s so uncool – it doesn’t have Facebook or Instagram, it doesn’t let you get a calendar feed and there are no games on it.. or at least ones they’d actually play.
But give them a new Apple Watch and see the time slip by as they spend theirs staring at a minute piece of screen real estate. How cool, it has apps, it can do cool stuff, play my music, tell my fortune. Oh yes, it even tells the time!
And you know that this’ll be the favourite toy – until the next one comes along. Before long, it’ll be consigned to the bottom drawer and eventually it’ll be discarded the same way cassette players and VHS recorders were, to be replaced with better, smaller, faster technology.
But the Rolex timepiece will keep on ticking, doing it’s simple job perfectly, generation after generation. It’s value will hold, or even appreciate. The Rolex won’t have software ‘glitches’, and certainly won’t report my geographical location, email content etc. to any agency that feels the need to know.
Will I get myself an Apple watch?? Quite possibly, when all the bugs are ironed out but right now, grandpa’s timepiece is still working the same way it did when he took it out of the box more than seventy years ago.
Want to know about the new Apple watch?? Go check it out here.