Discovering an invisible benefit form the long term usage of wearable tech.
With all the Apple Watch news of late, it has never been easier to file all smartwatch content away under the umbrella term of ‘wearable tech’.
@Whatleydude I’m yet to be convinced with wearable tech. As someone overly consumed by information, I don’t need my clothes to talk to me
— Adam (@adamrubins) April 26, 2015
The man has a point.
Thing is: all Pebbles are wearables, not all wearables are Pebbles.
When I wrote up my ‘Pebble: two weeks later’ thoughts back in January of last year, I said:
Almost like a mini personal assistant, it fields incoming alerts from my phone so I don’t have to. I choose when I pick my phone up, not the other way around; reminding me that the phone is there for MY convenience NOT everyone else’s.
And that has remained true.
‘Yes but’, my friends said in unison ‘all you’ve done is replace one addiction for another. Instead of looking at your phone every ten minutes, you’re forever checking your watch instead!’ – they had a point.
And I didn’t ignore them.
At the turn of the year, I started experimenting with switching the Pebble to ‘phone calls only’ mode – as in, please only buzz and alert me to incoming phone calls, those people that need to talk to me right now. In the six weeks I’ve been back from SXSW, I’d say that my Pebble has been on Phone Calls Only mode around 90% of the time.
The thin layer that Pebble has placed between my phone and I has thickened and now I no longer have the fear when I haven’t checked, seen, or even been near my phone for anything longer than seven minutes.
I thank Pebble for that.
That’s not to say that I no longer enjoy the benefits that Pebble brings. I can still browse and view the ongoing notifications, I just choose to opt-in to them instead. By that I mean, I scroll to the ‘notifications’ section in the watch and click through/dismiss/reply as and when I remember. It’s a good system.
It’s funny. I guess in the same way that nicotine patches help ween smokers from their addiction, Pebble has taken the form of a mild intervention; helping me simultaneously both remember and realise that my phone is there for my convenience, and not everyone else’s.
As I type this now, my phone is to my side, face down, and on silent. My Pebble is in on ‘Phone Calls Only’ and I haven’t looked at my phone for nearly 300 words. When was the last time you could say the same thing?
These days I find myself ignoring my email inbox for hours, sometimes days. It’s just not important enough. SMSs? I’ll reply when I can. It might be now, it might be in an hour. But it’ll be when I want to, not when my watch told me I should. That change is powerful.
Some of you might read this and think ‘Yeah, I was right all along – wearables are not for me!’ but I don’t think you can genuinely form an opinion on their benefits (short and long term) without trying them for yourself. This recent shift hasn’t changed my opinion of wearable tech – in fact it’s only served to make it more positive. I’ve backed Pebble’s next iteration of the watch (Pebble Time Steel – if you fancy Googling it) on Kickstarter and I’m really looking forward to the next layer of benefits that’ll bring to my life.
My smartwatch helped me crack my smartphone addiction and my life is better for it. Which I guess makes Pebble the equivalent of mobile phone nicotine patch – who knew?