Still life with the Apple Watch.
Choice on the back of pack of camel cigarettes. I recently re-read the book "Still Life with Woodpecker" by Tom Robbins. This isn't a recommendation or anything like that, if you want to read post-modern novel about the end of the 20th century (or as he puts it the last quarter of the twentieth century) then it is worth a few rainy afternoons of time. A book about princess, a dynamite and love.
But the point of the books is about the word Choice, about how a life is defined not by who you are born to be but by the choices you make. Or on another level, the reasons you make those choices.
It is far too late for me to be writing about U2 showing up on everyones idevice un-requested (so innocently you might say). What I can write about is the choice to go to great length to rid ones account of a freebee. I have received a few freebees in my life, the occasional pen in the mail from the red-cross, stress balls at career fairs, that sort of thing. Freebees come in an out our lives and although they may make their way to the bin over time, its not usually worth making a special trip to the tip to get rid. Except that this innocent assault on our music collection, hit at something private and personal.
While 'Songs of Innocence' was insinuating its way on to your iphone, Apple was proudly announcing at least 36 different varieties of Apple watch. And this is all wrong for the first quarter of the 21st century. The contradiction here is that Apple has broadcast two clear messages, messages which have alway been there but never in writ this larg.
You can have as much choice as you want about what is on the outside of your apple device, while apple can retain as much control as they want over what is inside. And cynically I think this how the Monopolist digital powers think about their user all the time. You can have all the choice you want as long as it doesn't matter.
These are not the choice we are looking for. Because all these Apple Watch choices, hide the fact there is no choice at all. Each device will have the same speed, same spec, will be the same on the inside. What will it be on t the inside, a watch, a wallet, a heart monitor - The first ipod couldn't be defined in simple terms (your music collection in your pocket'), the ipad seemed strange to the consumer at first. The apple watch is blasé.
My conclusion is this, technological innovations often have two characteristics. First minimal variety - as Henry Ford said of the model A, " you can choose any colour want as long as it is black". This is because to choose innovation is a big enough choice, to be forced to choose type colour and size as well - that is too much.
Second as Douglas Adam pointed out, innovation is often more about taking things away then adding. The Walkman took a HiFi and removed the speakers. The Apple watch smashed things together, and still requires a iPhone to work. Most people use their phone as watch anyway.
What apple has chosen to announce, this autumn is that when you choose apple you choose not to choose. Everyone gets the same watch with a new look and everyone gets the same music too....
And then owners of apple products around the world chose to say 'NO' - people who would do anything for freebee chose to delete U2.
The apple watch isn't on sale yet, but my guess is it won't sell well. My feeling is that the apple watch cheapens the whole brand, from being classy and innovative, it has become cheap and trendy.
Blackberry too was once trendy, right before its stocks began to fall.