Thread: Apple Watch
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Formerly Roboman, still
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
2015-04-21, 12:01

Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post
See... now a bunch of tech nerds are talking about fashion and what is feminine or not.... mission accomplished Apple.
Contrary to what high school would have you believe, being a tech nerd and knowing fashion aren't mutually exclusive. I don't consider myself particularly stylish (although I do get compliments on my dress sense!), but I do consider myself at least somewhat fashion-literate.

But I think you are onto something, with the divide between tech nerds and fashion. I think there is something very real there (otherwise how would you explain Android Wear?). In geeky circles it's almost a point of pride to say that you aren't fashionable, like that means you're above caring about how you look or something.

I've noticed in the geek world there's a widespread assumption* that fashionable people dress fashionably to impress other people, to flaunt their wealth and "hipness," but in my experience that's not true. All the fashionable people I know make their selections to please themselves, and they don't even really seem to think about what other people might think—they know when they look good. It's like having any other sort of taste, you seek things out that are just appealing to that sense. Being "into" fashion isn't that much different than being into fonts or design, or movies or comic books for that matter. People who are really fashionable are fashion geeks. They're like the rest of us, but they just have more refined, nuanced tastes, in the same way that somebody who's geeky about grindhouse horror movies can tell the difference between each director's oeuvre that might look the same to outsiders.

And then there's that general geek thing about distrusting anything that isn't easily broken down into objective stats. Fashion isn't engineered; it's somewhere between design and art. In this mindset, saying that a steel Apple watch is worth $300 extra because it feels nicer is silly; it has to have some sort of other technical benefit, like more megahertz or gigabytes. But some things are more than the some of their specs, some things can't be broken down and calculated, and when you try to do so you're apt to miss the forest for the trees. Geeks like to think that this objectivity makes them more rational and accurate, unswayed by things like feelings. But this is the same impulse that caused Consumer Reports to declare the Buick Regal the best sport sedan on the market, a conclusion almost nobody actually shopping for a sport sedan seems to agree with.

With this in mind, it's no wonder that there's such tension regarding the Apple Watch. It's not just Linuxy neckbeards who don't get it; I'm sure a lot of people who don't like it are actually died-in-the-wool Apple fans who view it as Apple going off to fashion la-la-land and selling snake oil like $500 bands that just look pretty. Why can't Apple just make computing appliances forever, they wonder. But Apple can't, because they already sell all the computing appliances in the world that make any money. Apple needs to grow elsewhere.

*) This isn't that much different from the common non-gearhead assumption that anyone who buys a fancy car must be showing off. It's a sort of projection; non-gearheads don't appreciate the finer points of performance engineering, so they assume that no one else does either. They have difficulty understanding how a fancy car could actually be worth it to somebody even if nobody ever saw them drive it.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong