Apple's State of Mind: A Digital Wellness Companion

Apples State of Mind and Double Tap features on the new Watch Series 9 offer privacy and convenience. Its a digital companion worth exploring for a more balanced life.

Apple's State of Mind: A Digital Companion in Your Pocket

In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of daily life. We often find ourselves rushing from one task to another, constantly on the move, and rarely taking a moment to check in with ourselves. That's where Apple's State of Mind feature comes in. I decided to give it a try, opting to receive regular notifications throughout the day. After all, if I only allowed it to ping me at night, my response would probably be a monotonous "tired."

However, embracing this digital companion wasn't without its quirks. My wrist started buzzing at the most unexpected times, like when I was reaching for the blender on a high shelf or during the chaotic morning rush to prepare my 6- and 8-year-old kids for school. At first, I chuckled at the idea that I could spare a moment to log my feelings amidst the daily chaos.

But then, it hit me. Who was I becoming? I wasn't a paramedic with a life-and-death situation on my hands. Nobody's future hinged on us arriving at school precisely at 7:50 instead of 7:51. Nevertheless, I dutifully logged my state of mind, and then, I did something radical—I went to the bathroom. It's perfectly acceptable to pause and take a breather, even several minutes. I might even savor my morning coffee before diving into work!

Apple has established itself as a guardian of privacy, vigorously defending its customers' data against agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The tech giant has also constructed a suite of products and services that, for the most part, surpass the competition in terms of security. When you record your health data on an iPhone or Apple Watch, it remains encrypted on the device and is accessible solely to you. Even during transit to and from your iCloud storage, it maintains its encrypted state. This multi-layered security allows Apple to continuously introduce more sensitive health-tracking features with each product iteration, such as medication logging and menstrual cycle tracking.

The new Apple Watch Series 9, now available and arriving in stores, boasts the innovative S9 chipset. This same processor powers the Watch Ultra 2 as well. The S9 chip enables both watches to process simple Siri commands locally, eliminating the need to transmit your voice data to Apple's servers and resulting in quicker responses. This approach also enhances your privacy, which is particularly reassuring when you're documenting your mental state, tracking your menstrual cycle, or recording your weight after stepping on the scale.

The S9 chip brings another exciting feature to the table: Double Tap. By swinging your watch towards your face and tapping your index finger and thumb together twice, the watch interprets this as a button press. By default, it triggers the primary action currently on your watch screen. This allows you to answer calls, end them, dismiss alarms, or navigate through your smart stack when your hands are occupied. This feature, an extension of Apple's accessibility software for wearables, harnesses the watch's gyroscope, accelerometer, and blood flow sensors to detect your finger taps.

While Double Tap is slated for a software update in October, Apple provided me with a device pre-equipped with this feature for early testing. However, there are some limitations to be aware of. If you've configured AssistiveTouch features that enable actions like pinching or clenching your hand to control your watch, they won't work in conjunction with Double Tap. You'll need to disable AssistiveTouch for Double Tap to function. Additionally, activities involving vigorous shaking or hand movements, such as stopping a workout mid-run, may interfere with Double Tap's accuracy.

In my initial experience with Double Tap, I found it most useful for controlling music playback on my HomePod Mini and managing timers. However, certain functions, like responding to texts, proved a bit perplexing and might require more practice.

In conclusion, Apple's commitment to user privacy and innovative features like State of Mind and Double Tap make the Apple Watch Series 9 an appealing choice for those seeking a secure and convenient digital companion. So, don't hesitate to take that well-deserved break and embrace the technology that can enhance your daily life.


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