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If there is one thing Apple is famous for, it is creating new product categories that consumers never realized they needed — or even wanted. Not only did Apple change the technological landscape by inventing the iPod, the iPhone and most recently the iPad, it dominated the respective market for all three products.
Now, the technology giant is at it again, with rumors of their latest up-and-coming product: the iWatch. The hope is that this dazzling smartwatch will once again be an entirely new, must-have gadget previously unimagined by either the customer or the competition.
Nifty as the iWatch may sound, this is one category Apple will not be luring me into. Though I am an avid Apple product supporter — embarrassingly enough, I own a Mac, iPhone and iPad — I am not convinced that the iWatch will add much benefit to my already technology-saturated life.
As is, you will rarely find me without my iPhone in hand. If one of my dozens of apps is not calling my attention, a friend or a family member usually is. Since my phone has now basically become an extension of my hand, I see little to no inconvenience using it as my timepiece.
For the true Apple zealots out there, though, I can already imagine the lines forming outside of storefronts. As with every other product release, the world can anticipate iWatch owners raving about their new device before even having it in hand. And as per usual, the Apple community will momentarily feel superior to those not fortunate enough to buy into the in-crowd.
Perhaps the innovative, new technology will serve its purpose to a targeted audience — such as athletes. Though measuring steps and tracking fitness is already possible, the iWatch could advance this technology to a cutting-edge level.
Business Insider speculates that in addition to time, the iWatch will also be able to show calendars, directions, maps, messages, emails, news headlines and weather. Since it will retain most app functions, the iWatch will simply resemble a much smaller smartphone, ideal for on-the-go situations and already-faithful watch wearers.
Yet with all this new hype in the air, a large part of me dreads the release of the iWatch. To be honest, the idea of wearable electronics going mainstream frightens me. Though technology certainly has its virtues, it is also responsible for its fair share of vices.
Sure, Apple and other like-minded companies claim that they are committed to making products that benefit consumers, but in the end, how helpful is technology, really?
Sadly, rather than allowing technology to make our lives simpler, most of us have freely given gadgets control, resulting in unnecessary chaos and stress. Be honest, most people in 21st-century America would feel entirely out of touch with the world if a cellphone was left at home. Even on campus, the frustration is tangible when the Internet crashes or programs run slower than usual.
The government now has to pass laws just to get users off their phones for the duration of a 10-minute drive. Families sit around the dinner table, staring at the television rather than talking with one another. Though ebooks offer a nice alternative for readers, more often than not, tablets are replacing the education of books with the mindless entertainment of apps.
Try going through just one day without the use of any technology whatsoever. It is nearly impossible for our generation. Face it, we are addicted.
So why not slap another device on our arms — it will help us be more productive, right? As is, I am afraid that far too many of us do not know how to first and foremost find the off button, and second build up the courage to push it. After all, we have grown accustomed to being connected to everyone, everywhere, at every hour of every day. Perhaps the last thing society needs is to strap a piece of technology to our bodies and carry it around permanently, distracted from the world around us.
Ultimately, it is undeniable that our generation has normalized a level of integration between man and machine beyond what generations before us dreamed of imagining. So, either way you look at it, excitement for wearable, flexible technology is warranted. Whatever else it may be, the iWatch will certainly be a new, never-before-experienced step into the future.