An open letter to Apple

Kylie Kvam

Dear Tim Cook,

Though I am an avid Android user, I still appreciate Apple products. One of my favorite products is the iPad because of its simplicity, portability, and utility—it’s basically a computer without the keyboard! Your company creates a plethora of useful and well-made products that I use on a regular occasion (I am typing this on my 2009 Macbook Pro), but one of your products just doesn’t sit well with me: the Apple Watch.

Everywhere I go—at school, at Starbucks, at the gym—people are wearing Apple Watches. I can’t seem to escape those who have fallen prey to the fad. The idea of having a smaller phone screen on your wrist seems a little excessive. Why is it better to have 38 or 42 millimeters of screen rather than just taking two extra seconds to pull out a 4.7 inch screen?

There is a little part of me that dies every time a friend of mine comes to show me their new $349 to $17,000 purchase. I think to myself, Apple—you have done it again. Another minion has trotted into your store in hopes of taking home a new white box with a sparkling toy inside.

The most common response when I ask my friends why they own an Apple Watch is either a ‘Why not?’ or ‘Because it’s cool.’ That isn’t a logical reason to make such an expensive purchase.

FitBits are guilty of creating the same obsessive fitness-tracking people. Everything begins to revolve around their small device telling them what to do and how to be active. It seems these devices are creating a large group of people dependent on technology to assess their health, which is harmful because people end up scrutinizing their daily habits constantly.

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In my own social circles, I’ve noticed this dependency is not only psychologically draining for the user because they obsessively focus on their health, but damaging to social relationships because friends are spending so much time on their devices, and less time interacting face-to-face.

There are some cases in which I see the need for a smartwatch. Doctors in hospitals, for example, can use them for fast communication, rather than holding a phone all the time. In New Orleans at Ochsner Health System, doctors are using Apple Watches to monitor patients with high blood pressure so they stay on a medication regimen and adhere to prescribed lifestyle changes.

However, for the people who are fortunate enough to be living without high blood pressure or sickness, there is no need to wear a fitness tracking device. I feel as though this may be delving into a deeper issue than just wearable technology. Maybe my main issue isn’t with your product, Apple, but with how you are turning your minions into obsessive data-collecting sheep.

xoxo,

Kylie Kvam

P.S.  Can’t wait to try out the new pencil.