This piece by Elizabeth Lopatto, writing for The Verge (thanks for the featured image, BTW.), is crazy interesting. I am a huge Apple Watch fan and, despite considering it to be the biggest piece of the platform lock-in puzzle for me, believe it is the most personal device that I own. It has changed my life for the better: I’m more active, more conscious of how long I sit for each day, more considerate of what I put inside my body, and I’m an absolute achievement whore.
You can see a preview of my achievements on the right. Yes, I’ve obtained every special event achievement badge so far, and plan to continue to do so until I die. Until. I. Fucking. Die.
You need gold stars.
I need gold stars. Achievements have been an addiction of mine ever since they debuted on Xbox 360 in 2005. I was a huge gamer back then and absolutely loved being able to collect digital trophies that I could show off to my friends. Fast forward 11 years and I’m now doing the same thing on my Apple Watch, but for my health. I don’t even need to show them to anyone (although I do Tweet about each one I earn). I get joy from knowing that I have them, that I’ve done something to better myself, and that I have this killer digital display case to hold all of them forever. But hey, it works. It gets me moving and exploring, and encourages me to pass these values along to my son that is usually in tow.
The activity app, Blahnik says, is one of the most popular apps on the Watch. Originally built to be “more addictive” than the average pedometer…
Apple seriously got me there. The Activity app absolutely IS addicting. I have its complication displaying on my Watch face constantly, no matter which face I am using that day. My current favorite is Utility, where Activity sits in the upper-left corner. I tap it obsessively throughout the day to evaluate my caloric burns down to the single calorie, the number of minutes I need to exercise throughout the day to meet my goal, and how many hours I’ve spent at least 1 minute standing during.
Not only do I check this app on the watch itself, I frequently open it on my iPhone just so that I can see the data even more quickly. I seriously can’t stop looking at it. I’m tied to my Apple Watch even when I’m not wearing it (which is usually only when laying in bed). I check Activity on my iPhone right before going to sleep, as my Apple Watch is cradled comfortably on its stand next to me. This new “circle of wellness” that Apple has helped me create also means that I obsessively log everything I consume into MyFitnessPal, and then look at the aggregated data from our Withings (Nokia) Body Analyzer (scale and stuff), Apple Watch, and food feed from MFP within Apple’s Health app on my iPhone.
… I began to think of the Apple Watch as my failure bracelet.
Thankfully, my Apple Watch is far from my failure bracelet. Instead I like to think about it as my little dude on my wrist, cheering me along, telling me what’s up in the world, and reminding me that I sucked yesterday and should try to do better today. It really is encouraging and I find the slight pushes to work toward closing my rings to be extremely motivating.
There’s a ton more good stuff to find in that article, so I highly suggest you read it but I’d like to touch briefly on platform lock-in. tldr; I can never switch to Android. I am so addicted to my Apple Watch and its rings that I can’t honestly imagine myself walking around without my Apple Watch on, telling me what a great job I’m doing so far today or prodding me to step it up if I’m slacking. I rely on the little Messages complication to show me when I’ve missed a text message from the wife while I’m playing with my son or trying to get his filthy hands clean with a warm washcloth.
The thought of missing out on a future holiday achievement, like our annual Apple Watch Turkey Trot, terrifies me. If I were to ever switch platforms it would have to be forever. I can’t move away from my iPhone and Apple Watch, miss a special limited time achievement and then ever go back to iOS. It almost doesn’t make sense when I type it out because I honestly can’t even imagine it actually happening. I would be so sad to see the missing space for an achievement badge that can never be earned again. I really think it would affect me. It might sound crazy, but it ain’t no lie.
I’ll just say it: Missing a special limited time achievement on my Apple Watch would be devastating. Apple got me. The Apple Watch isn’t a failure bracelet. It is the ultimate tool for locking me into Apple’s ecosystem.