Time has come today, and Apple Watch can have tomorrow

Charley Gordon remembers the good old days when timepieces needed winding and tattooed skin was the exclusive reserve of sailors

By Charley Gordon

How to greet the news that the Apple Watch doesn’t quite work when fastened onto tattooed skin? Satirical comment is too easy, isn’t it, the news equivalent of a batting practice fastball. Here it comes, not too fast, right over the middle of the plate. You can see the seams. How can you not take a swing at it?

But where to start? Point out that the watch is unnecessary. Point out that the tattoo is unnecessary, the two cancelling each other out. Hey, the useless thing I put on my arm is making the useless thing I bought for my wrist useless!

Then there is the rant about First World Problems, always a crowd favourite.

Or move, ever more comfortably, into old fuddyduddyism. In my day, you had to wind your watch and it never talked to you, because it had better manners. As for tattoos, you had to be a sailor.

Each of these is a variation on a theme: they got what they deserved. But how about a different theme altogether? How about some sympathy for the innocent victims of this technological calamity?

“Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings,” is what the Apple Watch support website says.

Imagine. The clinching argument for you, in deciding whether to by what is in effect a tiny wearable iPad, is that it will give you reliable heart rate sensor performance. Perhaps that’s how you sold it at home, the fact that you were spending $700 that could easily have gone into something more practical, like a special computer gizmo that allows you to watch on-demand movies in your pool, underwater with surround sound.

“I didn’t buy it because I wanted to get the first-period score while I was pretending to see what time it was. I wanted to have reliable heart rate sensor performance. Don’t you care about my heart? Don’t you love me?”

And now. People are mocking you and you have to point to some other vital feature. Let’s see. There’s stuff to keep you from getting lost, but you already have that in your phone. There’s Siri, but that means talking to your wrist. You can get Twitter and — perhaps even better — you can avoid getting Twitter.

How about this, though? There’s an app you can get for your Apple Watch that will not only tell you what song is playing but also produce lyrics for it, so that you can use it for karaoke, or — what the hell! — just sing along with the Muzak in the restaurant.

Further, in the absence of any news reports to the contrary, you can probably do this even if you have tattoos!

So there’s your justification for dropping $700 on a watch. “You know how I sometimes sing the wrong words in the supermarket, and sometimes I don’t even sing the right song? Well, this will fix all that. Let’s go shopping, right now!”

Whatever you do, don’t say you bought the watch so you can know what time it is. You already get that on the phone, the car dashboard, the microwave, the digital box, the radio, the thermostat and, if you are one of those rare persons who has one, the clock.


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