When wearables become fashionables, they’ll really take off, says david chartier – and Apple is the company to lead the charge
David Chartier has a plan to make wearables zing.
The idea of wearing products on our persons has had a long journey to the mainstream. Remember when it became hard to tell whether someone was talking to themselves or a Bluetooth headset? Now we get to play Dick Tracy with our Apple Watches, and I think Apple is working to expand upon this trend in big ways.
Whether you pin the first wearable consumer tech as the iconic Walkman, Casio calculator watch, or something else, society has steadily marched towards joining with our devices. We aren’t quite at the precipice of the human-technology singularity yet, but Apple is one of the few companies that’s made headway with useful tools that are actually fashionable. Wait, bear with me…
While “fashionable” hasn’t been a common term in tech, I think you’ll start hearing it much more in the coming years. All the features and battery life in the world won’t sell a wearable gadget to the masses if it isn’t also something people actually want to wear. That means these devices need to fit our various and shifting senses of fashion. It wasn’t just Apple’s technology prowess that made it become the second largest watch maker (by revenue) in the world in just a year – it was also the company’s sheer good taste in design. So where does Apple Fashion, Inc. go from here?
In recent interviews, Tim Cook himself has stated that Apple is open to a device like the Apple Watch, but with broader medical features and monitoring. However, such a device would also be subject to longer and more stringent regulatory review cycles, which is why Cook also said the device would be separate from the Apple Watch.
Then there’s ARKit in iOS 11, Apple’s incredibly powerful new platform for developers to build apps that use augmented reality. Imagine moving your iPhone in front of you to see Maps’ directions painted on the streets around you, or a real-time view of your city as it looked 100 years ago, or a video game on your dining room table. ARKit is truly amazing stuff. But there’s a general consensus that its eventual vessel – maybe in the coming years – will be some kind of Apple-designed fashionable glasses. Now, I do think it’s worth examining this assumption in light of the failure of Google Glass. It was a similar product from Google that attached to a pair of glasses, but a key aspect to its downfall was Google’s horrible reputation for privacy. Google Glass could record video, and clips soon circulated of Glass wearers in bars being physically threatened if they didn’t remove the device. Bars and other establishments quickly responded with “No Google Glass Allowed” signs, naturally. Apple, on the other hand, arguably leads the industry in focusing on personal privacy and security. If any company has a shot at this kind of device, it’s the one. And, if Apple sticks to its process, it will introduce these products gradually. Think about how iOS has steadily improved each year: first an App Store, then copy and paste, document sharing, business support, a jumbo iPad that has outsold the Mac, and so on. This is uncharted territory, but Apple has worked for quite some time to guide us through it.