Is Apple iWatch an Example of more Worthless and Mindless Consumer Products we really don’t need?

My thought is that Apple is convinced it can sell us more things we don’t really need because that is the same debate folks were having when the ipad came out and the dawn of the post PC computing age was not obvious.The possible mistake of seeing the iWatch as a repeat of the iPad is that mature affluent markets are reaching the market saturation point (the US, Japan and Europe).

This begs the question: how many devices do we really need? The folks in the corporate world when they get all excited in their eHome prototypes, they become increasingly out of touch with the economic realities that most of us face. The bubble hits home when the line for the company’s expectation of consumers buying products without any rational sense of them providing something meaningful for people in terms of say increased productivity, hits the reality of their being only so much money people can spend on these things.

A crash is when the two lines intersect. There is not limitless money just as there is not limitless resources. And that needs to be considered as well – this idea of a moral and ethic obligation for us as consumers to think about the ecological and social implications of these vast industries that produce these products of our modern world. Also in the consumer frenzy we tend to overlook the reality that there might be better things we could be doing for ourselves as well as humanity than considering what has become little more than business gossip about what these corporate titans are doing?

When we consider the huge impact of making the computers on the planet, Apple and other companies are some of the worst ecological offenders of our time. Especially when you consider Apple’s anti-recycle and anti-repair attitude when it comes to getting the max life out of its products.

For me the reality of Apple’s selfishness and arrogance is most obvious when it comes to their obtuseness in regards to this idea of making more ecologically and socially responsible computers – despite its huge cash pile. I think this is the kind of innovation that really matters for the future of humanity.

The open source guys are different. These see the world different than the dominant cultures of the computer world today: Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and Google. Linux designers continue to design low power systems that do pretty much everything most of us ever need on computers that are 4-7 years old or more. Also there is amazing work to get to low power desktop capabilities on ARM systems that cost 50 dollars.

We are rapidly moving towards the realm of absurdity when it comes to many consumer sectors and the options their offer which are so much more than most of us consumers need for our everyday lives. For example the Retina screen is close to the limits of what our eyes can see, in terms of display quality and definition. So as our ecofootprint grows, the reality is that we can really do just fine with older and more compact technologies, using a fraction of the computing and technology power we now have at our disposal in our phones, computers, cars and even washing machines.

iWatch is the latest and most obvious sign that despite all of our state of the art technologies we still feel like it is not enough. Maybe its not enough because we are not focusing on what is important in life?

I encourage people to just stop a moment and consider this idea of much is enough. Maybe we are reaching this point of pretty much having all that we need in these technologies. Possibly now the real innovation should be focused on making them last longer so that they don’t have to be replaced so often. In this process, we can reduce our ecofootprint and focus on more pressing issues like extreme world poverty and global climate change.

2 thoughts on “Is Apple iWatch an Example of more Worthless and Mindless Consumer Products we really don’t need?

  1. I only have an iPhone because my boss bought me one (we need them for our work which involves making mobile apps) and I didn’t get an iPad because I figured with an iPhone and a laptop why do I need it? My boss would like it if I had one but not enough to buy me one (yet). I don’t care about the status of having the latest thing, I will only get a new iPhone if my boss buys me a newer one (he may need to eventually) or this one stops working.

  2. You make a good point about the obsolescence too. While getting my seven year old laptop repaired last spring, the guy I was trying to give work to pointed out that a new one would only cost a little bit more than the repair bill and I said I realize that but the new software I would have to buy could be a couple of thousand dollars and I can’t afford that right now. I couldn’t think of a nice way to say “and I’d rather give you work than someone in China making something disposable” so I didn’t say it but that’s what I was thinking. I appreciated him being honest with me but it does point out how most people think throw away first, not repair first. When something really is done, I take it to an electronics recycling plant where at least they can get what they can out of it. Any reusable parts they can get off of it they sell, and if what’s left is only good for melting down that’s what they do. They also refurbish stuff if possible. I’ve given them several computers over the years along with broken small appliances, flourescent bulbs and used batteries which they also take. I’ve deliberately bought small appliances used because older ones are built better and I’d rather not encourage people to make cheap junk.

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