Not any old smartwatch, mind you, but a 4G watch that has a built-in eSIM, that for an extra $5 a month on your mobile phone bill lets you connect your watch to the number as your mobile phone, and receive all your calls and messages on your watch, even when your phone isn’t nearby.
So you get yourself one of these watches, says Fardoost, and then you do something the phone makers never really envisioned: you put your phone on the charger at home, and you leave it there. Permanently.
It’s a shortcut to something that science fiction has long envisioned as the future of humanity. Not one where we’re all carrying around phones all the time, but one where the technology is so advanced, we don’t even need phones.
In the 2018 TV series The First, set in 2033, characters send and receive messages through a small device in their ear, controlling it with their voice or with their watch. On the rare occasions when they need a screen, they don holographic glasses.
“I tell my friends, I’m going to the future,” says Fardoost.
The trouble with smartphones, of course, is that they’re too good. There are too many apps on them that are too demanding of attention, and little by little they create a habit that has you picking up your phone even when it’s not ringing or buzzing with incoming messages.
Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2018 found that 8.7 million Australians believe they’re using their mobile phone too much, and of those 8.7 million, only 26 per cent believe they’re successful in limiting their phone usage.
Thirty-four per cent of those 8.7 million Australians report they’re trying to limit their phone usage, without success. That’s almost 3 million Australians, reporting that they have a problem with phones.
Better quality of life
“You go to the playground on the weekend, and all these parents who know better are sitting there, looking at their phones” rather than interacting with their kids or with each other, says Fardoost.
“Do they not love their kids? Of course they love their kids. But they’re in the habit of looking at their phones, and the problem is, it’s a habit that’s extremely difficult to break.”
If the problem with mobile phones is that they’re too good, the genius of eSIM-connected smartwatches is that they’re not good enough.
Since he stopped carrying his mobile phone and started wearing a smartwatch instead, Fardoost reports he hasn’t been able to do many of the things he wants to do.
“I want to be able to look at my watch and do the things that I do on my phone – scroll through emails, scroll through social media.
“But it turns out, there’s very little you can do on it. The interface is extremely limited. All you can do is address the notifications that pop up.
“There’s nothing else you can do. You can’t go wandering around from app to app, like you can on a phone.”
That turns out to be a good thing, of course. Unable to do the things that he wants to do, or do the things that his habits want him to do, Fardoost says he’s quickly forced to re-engage with the world.
“There are limitations with the watch, but those limitations give you a better quality of life,” he says.
“It’s the screen on the watch. It’s tedious, and so you give up and you get back to doing whatever it was you were supposed to be doing.
“Who would have ever thought that the watch would end up being the answer to this problem?”