The world of technology is abuzz with the announcement of the Apple smart watch.
Although Apple has predicted no release date yet, experts are already anticipating that Apple is set to sell over 24 million smart watches in 2015! This means that smart watches are more than just a fad, they are a fixture that will be here to stay in 2015 and will become a permanent fixture on the list of must-have gizmos to buy.
As of yet, wrist-based wearables fall into two product categories: notification-based watches and fitness trackers.
The fitness trackers have currently a better hold on the market, as they have a clear purpose for the consumers. Fitness trackers are smarter, more accurate and do much more than just measure mileage. Now fitness trackers are paired with a companion web-account, mobile apps, and auxiliary devices that give you better insight into your lifestyle habits. This is made possible by tracking sleep, calorie consumption, progress, heart rate, blood pressure and more. As well almost all fitness trackers are waterproof and hardy for active wear. This is a fast-growing industry and companies such as Fitbit, Withings and Garmin in collaboration with the luxury watch industry companies have been capitalizing on the trend by providing smarter, lifestyle-tailored fitness trackers.
However, notification-based watches still seem to fall into the category of smartphone accessory without a clear-cut purpose for its use that can differentiate it from your average run-of-the-mill smartphone. As well, notification-based watches have clearly lacked targeted marketing to fashionista consumers – the products have been presented as a rather dumpy ‘block-on-a-wrist” instead of a sleek, quality-driven design to entice busy consumers with a strong eye for quality and design.
For wearables to be more than a go-between Bluetooth for the smartphone, manufactures are going to have to invest in applications for the smart watches that go beyond the traditional smartphone functions, social media apps, etc. Combined with a stunning, elegant design it brings the smart watch into a market of its own with a purpose and function that can justify the price and purchase.
These are functions that tech designers predict could become part of the smart watch make-up and make the smartphone obsolete:
- Mobile payments
- Video chat
- Child monitoring
- Health monitoring
- Public transportation (instead of cards and tickets)
- Identification and authentication
- Car keys
- Hotel keys
- House keys (to integrate with a home security control system)
- And if you really want to get futuristic, for road-warriors they could have their travel plans and reservations, and digital passport integrated with the smart watch making paper tickets and physical passports obsolete.