Sunday, 29 March 2015

On form, function and wearables

So a couple of weeks since the Apple Watch launch and I have read then thought a bit more since my initial feelings. So I thought I'd round up the best on the web so far with some of my own thoughts. As someone whose phone spends most of the day on the desk in front of me, this cartoon made me chuckle
it's a believable world where the watch is just an accessory for a phone. To me apps as providers to a new watch UI framework makes sense as Pebble are proposing in their latest kickstarter. This follows the kind of process from when desktop applications were shrunk to fit smartphones and the way that we use/interact with "apps" is different now. (I think that it's also reasonable to assume that way we use apps will also change in the same way desktop programs have become much more app like).

This feels like a much more natural framework for linking within apps, for structuring the interactions around both intent and context. This is already a trend in phone apps as the marketplace becomes increasingly crowded.
In Move over QR codes; NFC will support more seamless boarding I think Jason Rabinowitz hits the nail on the head with one area of smartwatch potential:
Before NFC really takes hold, airlines and passengers must get through the first few waves of “smartwatches”. Unfortunately, at least for now, smartwatches just seem like an even more inconvenient way to use a QR-based boarding pass
I tend to agree that this technology could pave the way to improvements in the whole passenger experience (PaxEx). One question I'm intrigued to know the answer to is would the Passbook passes be stored so that they can be used via NFC even after the battery dies? I think that would be neat.

There are a number of other useful features for travellers. With innovative new technology, devices and availability it can often lead to a change in our behaviour, for example what will happen about sharing keys temporarily?  If I'm travelling with people I may give them my physical key to either put something in or collect from my room. Will I want to handover my watch? assuming it even works away from my phone. Will I be happy in transferring my key to another device? Will I trust that when I get the key back on my device that I am still the only person with access?

As well as travellers, I can see why runners will find the watch useful. The armband is great but not exactly user friendly for a quick glance, which is also the gist of the medium article Why cyclists will love the Apple Watch. Taps on the wrist could be useful for every time or distance marker, maybe even different taps for speed up or slow down to run at a set pace.

I'm not sure how successful a form factor watches will be for wearables, but I believe that sensors for various health applications will be a longer term bet. Smartwatches as a snazzy new tool are great, so I leave you with this thought ...
Is the watch an overkill for the tool needed? Would cheap buzzers/sensors that provide haptic feedback coupled with bluetooth earpiece be good enough? It would probably be a heck of a lot cheaper! Marrying technology and fashion would make them truely wearables and as illustrated by some interesting ideas come out SXSW.

R for Product Management

Photo by  Štefan Štefančík  on  Unsplash Since my previous blog post I have made some progress on being able to replace most of what I...