The smart watch revolution has been anticipated for quite some time. It didn’t come with the Pebble or any of Samsung’s efforts. Maybe it will come with the Apple Watch, but probably not.
I’m often asked –as the founder of a mobile accessories company – if I’m afraid of the Apple Watch. I respond in the same way I’d respond to any new technology: I don’t know, but probably. Startups are often sparking creative destruction but we’re also incredibly vulnerable. Plus, new technology is just scary, in general. Ever seen Terminator? But when it comes to smart watches and their capacity to disrupt, I don’t see it happening just yet.
That isn’t to say smart watches will never have their time (pun!). The amount of money and people being thrown at them suggest watches are going to offer some very real benefit. The main problem I see with smart watches is that it goes against the central trend in technology since the advent of the PC: consolidation.
The PC first ate away at the typewriter before gobbling up more and more functionality as software and connectivity developed. Modern TVs and the cloud already make DVD players obsolete and DVRs and third-party video streaming devices (e.g., Roku) look increasingly unnecessary. One can imagine a time when the television comes with enough computing power to replace (or just become?) the home PC altogether.
The best example of a device that consolidates functionality may be the smartphone itself. In addition to cannibalizing its fellow handheld devices like the camera, music player and GPS device, larger screens offered in the Samsung Note and Apple 6+ are encroaching on tablets. House keys and wallets will be part of your phone’s functionality soon enough and maybe the computing power of these devices will be all we need at home some day.
When feature enhancements and standalone call capacity come along, perhaps some of us will reject the trend for ever larger smartphone displays and opt for a wrist watch instead. Until then, I see smart watches continuing to resemble something of a garnish to the smartphone entrée, with Apple only serving to stamp a hyper-lucrative brand on what’s already out there.