Chronos and kairos: What drives Apple’s iWatch ambitions
Apple – the formidable under Steve Jobs has fallen fast from the cutting edge technology leadership under pincer attack from the likes of Google (Car, Glass?) and Samsung (Eye Scroll, Mind Control?). The features listed here are top of mind recalls – and a careful think could provide any and many others. For the sake of the most exciting company of our times, I hope that Tim Cook has what it takes to turn it around.
So while Apple has been missing in action on the “Glass” kind of immersive augmented reality application – there’s some buzz and heat on the Apple iWatch. Now then, Apple already has a device which is iPod Nano watch thereby bringing Music, e-mail, iTunes, podcasts, pedometer on the wrists. So Apple’s foray into this space has a predecessor which was cool thingie on the wrist.
However, dismissing the iWatch as a watch with features is a mistake. Apple would be inclined to see this as its first foray into wearable technologies – combining the device and apps with physical activity sensors, pulse monitor, blood pressure and possibly glucose monitor. Unlike other wearable technologies like, say, headphones, these devices allow you to monitor and analyze sleep, health, and fitness levels. In short, physical states and well being.
The ancient Greeks often made a distinction between two notions of time, Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is chronological time which flows ineluctably along by seconds, hours and years, unaffected by human interests. Kairos, etymological root of “care,” is time laden with human meaning and activity. “Lunchtime,” “a good night’s sleep,” and a “long and rejuvenating walk,” all convey this sense of Kairos. A Timex is mainly chronological. What Apple could be doing is making a “kairologocial” tool that tracks and monitors the data around the experiences you care about. How much you actually slept, when and how far you walked. Basic questions rooted from everyday experience might now be by settled by data on a “watch” — a “kairometer” — rather than guesswork. Transforming the user’s experience by making impersonal things more personal and intimate has long been at the core of Apple product’s value proposition. For example, Steve Jobs positioned the iPad as a way for customers to “connect with their…content in a more intimate…way than ever before.” The Apple watch would likely build on this logic, aiming to make users’ experience of time more intimate by tying it to who they are and what they care about. That way the Apple iWatch would want too scale its effectiveness over something like the Nike Fuel Band by adding states of well being and not just fitness. Afterall, Lifestyle (iWatch posssibly!) is much bigger than just fitness (Nike Fuel Band).
Now behold the outcome of this technology
1. With iPod, Apple redefined the way people engaged with Media. With iPhone, Apple redefined the way people engaged with Internet. The iWatch experience would be key to the way people engage with their personal hygiene and habits space. Extrapolating it further – Apple disrupted Media, it disrupted Internet and now it could disrupt Lifestyle. Lifestyle is one helluva cake, pie or what ever you want to name it that Apple is after
2. And then there is the space where you connect the dots. Apps for health/lifestyle; an Interface that really goes past platforms – Phone, TV, Media and more; and a presence which is passive over long long periods of time. You wear a wrist watch for atleast 8-14 hrs of your day! And that’s a lot of data collected.
3. Apple experience has mastered the external environment – the iWatch will take it internal ( how a user reacts to a TV program, a stimulus, a news …. (that lists is endless)). Joining the dots internal and external and what a experience continuum you have created.
4. And yes, the cascading effects of a network that goes crazy about you…. Over and over again
Its really the next frontier of technology that Apple is blending with its horizons now.