Apple Watch: An Analysis

This week’s assignment for my Digital and Media Literacy class is to perform a mini-analysis of a smart technology of our choice. Because I love mine, I chose the Apple Watch, a smartwatch created by Apple Inc. It includes fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities, as well as incorporation with iOS and other Apple products or services. I’m a fan of mine because it helps me to set and reach my fitness goals, plays music from my Spotify, notifies me of texts/calls and allows me to reply to them, and admittedly, it’s in style and my pink band is super cute. Continue reading to learn more about the Apple Watch’s origin, pros, and cons.

The Apple Watch was released in April 2015 and quickly became the best-selling wearable device: 4.2 million were sold in the second quarter of fiscal 2015 and more than 100 million people were estimated to use an Apple Watch as of December 2020. The goal of the smartwatch was to complement and iPhone and to free people from their iPhones. Kevin Lynch, an American software developer who is currently the vice president of technology at Apple Inc., developed the software.

Like the iPhone, the Apple Watch has different variations. Apple Watch has eight generations, called series. The current models being sold are the Series 3, SE, and the Series 7. The latest models include GPS, cellular, water resistance, heart rate monitor, blood oxygen sensor, and compass. All of the watches include a “digital crown”, which can be turned to scroll or zoom and pressed to return to the home screen; a touchscreen; and a side button that can be used to display recently used apps and access Apple Pay, which is used for contactless payment. Apple rates the watch’s battery for 18 hours of mixed usage. The watch also comes with an included band, or strap, to attach it to the user’s wrist. Like the iPhone, the voice assistant Siri is available on the Apple Watch. The watch relies on a connected iPhone to perform many of its functions.

The Apple brand personality glamourizes this idea of lifestyle, imagination, freedom, innovation, passion, hopes, dreams and ambitions, and power-to-the-people through the technology in its products and it hugely does this in its visual advertisements that sometimes even exaggerate the amazing experience of using technology and gaining a sense of happiness. The Apple brand personality is also about simplicity and the removal of complexity from people’s lives, people-driven product design, and being a humanistic company with a heartfelt connection with its customers. The Apple brand is not just intimate with its customers, it’s loved, and there is a real sense of community among users. One of its features allows users to share their activity and compete with their friends in activity competitions.

Apple Watch has many benefits. It’s great to take on runs or other workouts with no need for users to also bring their phone, because it has music, a running app, and the ability to send/receive texts or phone calls if need be. It’s great for quick at a glance notifications. A ton of information, such as notifications, weather, date, and time, are available on a small face. While Apple Watch is largely marketed towards health-conscious individuals between the ages of 20 and 45, there are several benefits for older individuals. Safety features like fall detection, emergency SOS, and high and low heart rate notifications, as well as notifications for irregular heart rhythms, make Apple Watch great for older family members, even if they don’t have an iPhone. However, there are also noted disadvantages. Users have complained that it’s slow, has limited storage, too dependent on the iPhone, and falls short in attempting to do many of the things the iPhone can do. It’s also very expensive compared to other smartwatches.

Added to the disadvantages of an Apple Watch is its voice assistant, Siri. Running on an operating system that is fueled by artificial intelligence, it (she?) observes and collects data in real-time. Much of the data that Siri uses include personal, potentially identifiable, and possibly sensitive information. Siri, as well as other voice assistants, can record our conversations, images, and many other pieces of sensitive personal information, including location. They use our data for machine learning to improve themselves over time. Their software is developed and maintained by companies that are constantly thinking of new ways to collect and use our data.

The main issue with voice assistants is that they are vulnerable to technical and process failures. They can also be hacked remotely, resulting in breaches of users’ privacy. However, as with any smart technology, I give you this warning: Use at your own risk. The benefits might outweigh the risks to you, and that’s totally okay. What’s important is being aware of all the information available so you can make an informed decision. With that, I leave you with this quote that reminded me of Siri.

“Ginny!” said Mr. Weasley, flabbergasted. “Haven’t I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain?”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Jordan Price

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