The Gilded & Jaded Age

[When I first thought about the title for this post, I wasn’t sure “gilded” was the right term, but after reading the description on Wikipedia, I realized there are a lot of parallels between the Gilded Age and the time we’re in right now.]
As I sit, read and absorb (what I can handle of) the news and reactions of Apple’s September 9th Keynote I can’t help but think of a clip I saw a few years ago of Louis CK as a guest on the Conan O’Brien Show. The clip starts out with Louis sadly admitting,
“Everything is amazing right now and nobody is happy.”
During the Keynote Tim Cook & Company announced two new iPhone models as well as a brand new Apple Watch. Many of specifications for the new iPhone models were leaked way in advance of the event, but little was known about the Watch. No one knew what the “wearable” would look like or what did (the press had been calling it the ‘iWatch’ for the last year).
Everything about the new 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus was as expected to nerds (myself included): bigger screens, a better camera, more storage capacity and the new iOS 8 operating system, pre-installed. Meh, no big deal. Status quo. Phones with technical stats—mind you—better than the original (desktop) iMac.
Then Cook announced “one more thing…” and we got to see the Apple Watch for the first time.
The Apple Watch is a device that works in conjunction with your iPhone. Some of it’s features are extensions of what the iPhone does: you can view maps/directions, push notifications from email, texts and notifications from other apps you choose.
Then there are other, brand new fitness tracking features only the Watch can do like monitor your pulse, elevation and distances you travel. It then aggregates all this data so you can track your progress. Oh, and you can wirelessly and securely pay for things with it as well.
What you’re able to do with the new iPhones and Apple Watch (as well as all the other smart watches and smartphones) is amazing. Forget going back in time 50 years and showing people an Apple Watch (or even the flat-tire Moto 360). If you just went back in time 10 years people would be blown away.
But in 2014? Not so much.
“Yeah, that’s kinda cool, but the battery only lasts for a day. Weak.”
“The screen is so tiny. I can’t read anything.”
“The watch is HUGE. I can’t wear that on my wrist.”
“I wish it read my mind.”
“Why can’t it start my car?”
Now I don’t think the Apple Watch is for everyone and I don’t expect everyone to get excited about it. What irritates me is the disappointed and negative reactions to the Apple Watch. Many people have been so conditioned by the day-to-day advances in technology they’re numb to even amazing—albeit incremental—advances.
I also acknowledge the tech press has a long track record of being critical of new gadgets, but in last 5-7 years though, they seem to have become increasing critical of the king of the hill, Apple. Forget the fact every other smart watch on the market lasts a day on a charge, but for Apple’s Watch, lasting just a day on a charge is a disaster. Add to this the psychology of the human brain and its tendency to focus on the negative more than the positive (loss aversion comes to mind).
Here’s a some of the many negative headlines that have passed through my RSS stream (I know what you might be thinking, maybe stop reading BGR):
BGR: The iPhone 6 feature that’s great, but hardly good enough: Wi-Fi Calling
PCMag: 5 Wearables More Interesting Than the Apple Watch
The Verge: Apple Watch will likely require nightly charging
BGR: It’s confirmed: You’ll have to recharge your Apple Watch every night
BGR: The iPhone 6 feature that’s great, but hardly good enough: Wi-Fi Calling
Reuters: Fashion world divided on first look at Apple Watch
ZDNet: Apple’s appalling iPhone 6 camera compromise
Telegraph: Apple Watch ‘too feminine and looks like it was designed by students’, says LVMH executive
Everything is amazing right now and nobody is happy.