"The Watch is Here" toutes Apple's wearable computer online marketing slogan, implying that the one and only timepiece that really matters has arrived on the scene . So much for the Rolex Cosmograph and Seiko World Timer when you can buy a stylish digital Apple Watch Sport or even an Apple Watch Edition crafted with 18-karat gold (Figure 1).
Of its features and functions, we are told that the Apple Watch is a music player, fitness tracker, communications device, payment token, digital key, and last but not least, a watch that tells the time ! We are surprised that no one has claimed that it will also help look after our kids—well, actually they have, just visit the App Store. It seems that this device can do anything.
Who would have thought that the power of an Internet-enabled laptop computer, mobile phone, iPod, Fitbit, bank card, and set of keys could be neatly packaged and strapped around your wrist (Figure 2)? Images of the 1960s wrist-worn communicator prevail . But unlike the original series of Star Trek, where these communicators could strand characters in challenging situations when they malfunctioned, were lost or stolen, or went out of range, the Apple Watch is being sold as the “all-in-one” solution that you'll never lose because it is always on you.
This begs the vital question: How will we change our behaviors based on the fact that we are walking around with a full-fledged computer that sits in contact with our bodies and communicates wirelessly with machines around us without our knowledge? Apparently, we're all going to look more athletic and stylish, be smarter and more accessible, and have a lot more convenience at our fingertips. But in actuality, we'll be reaching for the mute button, longing to be disconnected, and fed up with all the notifications interrupting us. That's when the novelty effect wears off .
We have all witnessed people who cannot resist the urge of pulling out their mobile phone to interact with it at the most inopportune times, or people who pass their idle time simply looking down at a screen . Most do not realize they are interacting with their personal computer devices for hours each day—the repetitive behavior has almost become a type of tic disorder, which is neurobehavioral. We get a message, it makes us feel important, we reply, and get a buzz the very next time it happens again. It's kind of like digital ping pong, and the game can get tangible fast. The primary reason this repetitive behavior continues to remain hidden is because the majority of mobile adopters suffer from this and so it looks normal .
People in public spaces can be observed immersed in virtual places . These Wi-Fi-enabled mobile contraptions can trigger a host of Internet-related addictions , whether used for gaming, answering e-mail, Web surfing, online transactions, social media, video chatting, or taking photographs. According to experts, Internet addiction disorder ruins lives by causing neurological complications, psychological disturbances, and social problems, not to mention the potential for accidents when people are not looking where they are going or not paying attention to what they should be doing. In short, our need to always be on and connected has become a kind of cyber narcotic drug.
Very few are immune to this yearning for “feedback loops,” so telecommunications operators and service providers pounce on this response. Information is money, and while we are busy interacting with our device, the companies are busy pocketing big money using our big data.
We are fast becoming a piece of digital information ourselves, sold to the highest bidder. And while we are busy rating ourselves and one another, the technology companies are not only using our ratings to learn more about our preferences and sentiments, but rating us as humans . In sociological terms, it is called social sorting, and in policing terms, it is called proactive profiling.
We are fast becoming a piece of digital information ourselves, sold to the highest bidder.
In days gone by, mobile communications could tell data collectors about our identity, location, even condition. This is not new, but the real-time access to the precision of this level of granularity of data gathered as technology becomes more and more invasive is something we should be aware of as it potentially can impinge on our fundamental human rights.
Because watches interface with the human body, they have the capacity to tell a third party much more about you than just where you've been and where you are likely to be going. They can
▼ detect physiological characteristics like your pulse rate, heart rate, and temperature, which provides insight into your home/work/life habits 
▼ determine time, distance, speed, and altitude information derived from onboard sensors
▼ identify which apps you are using and how and why you are using them, minute by minute
▼ oversee the kinds of questions you are asking via search engines and text-based messages you are sending via social media.
These watches will become integral to the fulfillment of the Internet of Things phenomenon—aiding the ability to be connected to everyone and everything.
All in all, corporations can know what you are thinking, the problems you are facing, and your personal context . What is disturbing is that they can divulge our innermost personal thoughts, intentions, and actions and have some evidence to figure out our reasons for doing things.
Most people who are immersed in the virtual world through high-tech gadgetry are too busy to think about the act of inputting information onto the Internet. People tout a life of convenience over privacy and are therefore not concerned what information is being logged by a company and shared with hundreds of other potential partners and affiliates . Generally, consumers are oblivious to the fact that even if they are doing nothing at all, the smart device they are carrying or wearing is creating a type of digital DNA about their uniqueness.
Today we are asking to be surveilled and are partying in the panopticon. We have fallen in love with the idea of being told about ourselves and don't discern that we have become prison inmates who are being tracked with electronic bracelets.
By the time we wake up to this technological trajectory, it will be all too late. Our health insurance provider will be Samsung , our telecoms provider will be Google , and our unique lifetime identifier will come from Apple . Of course these are currently the archetypal tech providers, but tomorrow who knows?
And by that time, we will likely be heralding in the age of uberveillance, where we posit that cellphones and wristwatches are not enough, that the human—computer interface should go deeper, penetrating the skin and into the body. The new slogan might read “The Mark is Here,” heralding the iPlant which gives birth to life, the one and only passport to access your forever services.
“You can't live without it,” won't just be figurative, it will be a reality.
This article has been adapted from “The Apple Watch Heralds a Brave New World of Digital Living” published in The Conversation on 14 May 2015 and available at https://theconversation.com/the-apple-watch-heralds-a-brave-new-world-of-digital-living-41171.
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Citation: Katina Michael; M. G. Michael, 2015, "Apple Watch Temptation: Just visit the App Store", IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 120 - 122.