Monday, 9 March 2015

on devices and fashion

Keeping An Eye On Time by Ian Foss

So the Apple Watch event caused lots of brouhaha today. The main aim/selling point seems to be getting your attention quickly, but is that a good thing? You don't have to look too far to see articles already on how to stop your phone from interfering in your life and personally along the same lines I've turned off certain apps from sending me notifications - the main one being Facebook. My phone also won't alert at all between 10pm and 8:20pm to give me a window of interruption/calm ... although I do ruin that by checking twitter every now and again. 

It will be interesting to see what the market is like for this, looking at traditional wrist watch stats smart watches are around the premium Swiss watch level. The majority of watches sold average out at $3 a watch from China and slightly higher at $19 from Hong Kong, a commodity price for something that just works. Are these watches going to have that feeling of craftsmanship to compete with the Swiss watches? I notice that they have used the term on the Apple Watch website.

The American Airlines and United examples taking data from either the Passbook pass or airline app could be useful. For example a gate change probably is a case where you probably want to be interrupted and prodded towards looking at your device. Having looked at trials with Google Glass and Android watches the main draw back was in the size of screen and creating a nice experience with that.

I think that the notification or alert infrastructures that Google and Apple have created in recent OS versions are laying the groundwork for something awesome around the corner. Indeed it looks like Apple have learnt from using Google devices and they've extended the hand off functionality to allow messages to be picked up on the watch and continued on the phone (or I'm assuming an iPad or a  MacBook with the right apps)

My favourite article on the Apple Watch asks if its time has come or if it is 70s throw back? My current feeling is no, we aren't quite there yet. However, the infrastructure and development kits with Passbook, iOS Notification Center and app hand off shows that the future could be bright, easy to use and fun. Organisations should probably treat smart phones as a playground on top of their main app to test and experiment, for the time being the users are going to be fairly tech savvy early adopters - that in itself gives opportunity.

What would make me get one? I'm not too sure. The Nike+ sportswatch at around £100 actually offers me something I can't get as easily from my phone when running. I'll keep an open mind but my top four things I'm watching are:
  1. Battery life, is the Apple Watch really 18 hours? (Major failing of most smart watches so far)
  2. Watches that play nice with other provider's ecosystems (e.g. Apple Watch taking feed from Android apps like a Pebble could do)
  3. Not needing the phone, so some kind of own cellular access. (like the Samsung Gear S)
  4. Screen size, can app developers make nice experiences using the screen real estate available?