Don’t get me wrong, the new iPhone X is a sexy, sexy piece of tech.
I’m a gadget nerd, and I have been repeatedly told by friends and family that I have a crippling Apple addiction. I also can afford it – $999 (or if anyone is being honest with themselves, it’s actually $1149 for the 256gb model) is a hefty chunk of change, but it’s not going to lock me out of paying for my apartment rent.
For all intents and purposes, I am Apple’s target demographic for this device. I’m hooked into their ecosystem, I crave the latest and greatest, and I’m pretty basic.
But I’m not going to get one.
Why? Because I want to spend less time in front of a screen, and because Apple released another product that’s allowing me to do just that.
I’m talking about, of course, the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE.
A little backstory…
As I’ve already confessed to you, dear reader, I’m an Appleaholic. I’m that weirdo who watches Apple keynotes live, spends late nights riddled with insomnia reading Apple rumour blogs, and forces my family and friends to go on excursions with me to Mecca – uh, I mean the Apple Store/Apple Town Square.
So of course, I ravenously followed the Apple Watch from rumor mill to release, and bought the first Apple Watch in 2015.
The OG Apple Watch was good, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was a beta tester for a great (future) product. It was slow, and it couldn’t do a whole lot when I stepped out of the range of my phone.
My interest was perked last year when they announced a new model with GPS. I’m a runner, so the dream of glamorously running through trails with just my Apple Watch and AirPods was quite appealing.
“But what if.” My brain would say, at the thought of leaving my iPhone behind.
- I got lost
- I had a heart attack
- I need to buy something
- I fell down the well and Lassie wasn’t there to save me
Or if I’m being completely transparent with what I worried about, what if…
- I miss a client lead
- I miss an important email
- People think I’m ignoring them because I don’t respond
- I want to check the news
- I get bored
- I get anxious and have nothing to do but be stuck with myself and my thoughts
All of which are really bad reasons to have my phone on me 24/7, especially when I actively wanted to have time away from constant connectivity.
Which bring me to my main point…
Smartphone addiction is a serious problem we’re facing as a society. It’s something everyone knows, but nobody really knows how to address.
If anything, our smartphone addiction is getting worse, and will continue to get worse as we get prettier phones with bigger screens, better battery life, and more features (especially tacky, shiny-object features – I’m looking at you Animoji). Like, literally looking at you instead of the world around me.
It doesn’t help that all of the big tech companies make more money when we spend more time on our phones. Our lack of focus pads their bottom line.
I spend too much time on my phone. I’m constantly checking my email, social media notifications, news stories, and text messages. Having notifications in my queue that I haven’t dealt with causes my heart rate to spike.
I’m aware that these patterns of behaviour are giving me anxiety and causing me to miss out on the aspects of life I enjoy the most – and yet, I have the world’s best slot-machine constantly within reach, so I’m virtually unable to stop.
Seriously, my impulse control is virtually non-existent.
And I know that having the iPhone X, a beautiful, gigantic screen device with a bazillion new ways to draw me in would push me further into the cycle of smartphone addiction.
That brings me to what is possibly the saddest thing that I will ever write: when Apple announced the new Apple Watch + LTE, I saw a glimmer of hope.
Suddenly, there was an alternative to having my iPhone with me at all times.
The thing is, by adding cellular to Apple Watch, all of my semi-reasonable excuses for needing constant access to my phone are gone.
I could… *gasp* finally leave my phone behind.
- I get lost? I have GPS + Maps to get me back home.
- Heart attack? Emergency SOS on the watch will dial 911 and all of my emergency contacts.
- I want to buy my usual Venti Soy Quad-Shot Starbucks Latté? I’ve got my Starbucks Gold Card (yes, I’m one of those) + Apple Pay.
With the superficial reasons out of the way, I have to confront the actual reasons I keep my phone with me at all times.
Fear of missing out. Boredom. Technology addiction.
So I got the new Apple Watch with the hope of spending less time attached to my iPhone… and so far, it’s been working.
I realize the flaws in my thinking, and the very large gaps in my reasoning.
I’m aware that the Apple Watch is not the solution to my dysfunctional relationship with technology. But it has been the kick in the butt that I needed to confront that relationship.
My challenge to myself moving forward is to spend less time on my phone, and the new Apple Watch eliminates all of the reasonable excuses.
If I had to estimate, I’d say that I spend somewhere around 3-4 hours on my internet-connected devices doing something besides work. That’s around 25 per cent of my day, which is way too high. I’d like to get that number down to less than one hour a day, including weekends.
Some examples of times when I have intentionally left my phone at home this past week have included…
- Going for walks and runs.
- Working out at the gym.
- Having a dinner date with my partner.
And you know what? It’s been really freaking great. I’ve been enjoying each of those more because I’ve been more present for all of them.
In the future, I’d like for that also to include…
- Calls with the people I love and care about (I have a bad habit of checking my email during meaningful conversations and missing chunks of the conversation).
- When I am focusing in on work, so that blocking out distractions is second-nature.
- When I’m off work, enjoying my free time reading books, playing video games, or watching movies.
- Any time when my life won’t be improved by having my iPhone (and no, taking a Snapchat selfie at the club doesn’t count as improvement).
I realize that there’s something sad and ironic about relying on an internet-connected gadget to alleviate my co-dependency on another, separate internet-connected gadget. But right now, it’s the best solution I have - ‘cuz I’d like to enjoy my life by being more present in the moment.
Sorry iPhone X, your sexy curves can’t sway me to decide otherwise.