P060: It’s Time to Get Intimate

A company announced a watch yesterday and if you want to hear more about the event or get a hands-on review there’s plenty of great coverage elsewhere. As an Apple loyalist and watch geek who is admittedly fascinated with the idea of the glance as an emerging interface, you can pretty much guess what I think of the product thus far. Instead, I’m going to go all word nerd this week and pull the thread a bit on Tim Cook’s assertion that communication via Apple Watch’s heartbeat sharing feature is “an incredibly intimate way to tell someone that you are thinking about them.”

If I may put on my Freshman Speech Class hat for a moment, Webster’s dictionary defines intimate in a crap-ton of different ways. It’s one of those maddening parts of the English language that, depending on tone and context, can be an adjective, noun or a verb. For a company like Apple that sweats every detail, it might seem incongruous to choose a word that can be so widely interpreted. But I suspect that this was a deliberate choice intended to help crystallize not only the way you communicate via the watch, but with the watch itself.

Let’s break down the various forms of intimate.

Transitive verb

  1. To make known especially publicly or formally: announce
  2. To communicate delicately and indirectly: hint

Pronounced with a “long a,” the verb usage is obviously not was Tim Cook was talking about in context of his quote, but still a fun coincidence. A formal announcement about a product that has been hinted at for years? Check.


  1. A very close and trusted friend

Apple has done more to humanize computers than any company, full stop. From Susan Kare’s literally iconic iconography to everyone’s favorite personal assistant, it’s no stretch to think that the Apple Watch was designed to act as a friend and confidant. Check.


  1. having a very close relationship
  2. very personal or private
  3. involving sex or sexual relations

Sharing your heartbeat certainly seems very personal – the kind of thing you’d share with someone with whom you have a very close relationship (or, conversely, a buddy you want to troll in a creepy way). And while this might not lead directly to sexual relations (and hopefully not with the watch), there’s not a single person who is planning to drop 10 G’s on the solid gold Apple Watch Edition because of all the sex they won’t be having.

Am I reading too much into this? Probably. But you didn’t really come here for Apple news, did you?

Periodically yours,

Bob Sherron