[Photo Credit: Wired]
Watches. Many of us who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s are used to them by now.
Back then, smartphones did not exist. Apple would not invent its iPhone until 2007, so watches and pocket clocks were the way to tell time. If you did not purchase a watch, you hoped that the clock on the wall was not lying this time. I can remember how cool I thought I was because of the calculator watch. These were good times.
Today, watches have become more of a passing ‘90s fad that needs to “stay dead,” according to some critics. As someone who grew up in the ‘90s, I shared this sentiment early on when I kept hearing stories about Apple creating an “iWatch.” When rumors started surfacing that Google wanted to create a smart watch as well (to go with its augmented-reality glasses), I was even more skeptical. Why should these tech giants return to a ‘90s fad in order to take consumers into the future of technology? Can they not come up with something else to take its place? Google’s driverless cars are the kind of earth-shattering tech that captivates me. “Let’s move forward, not retreat,” I was thinking to myself.
At the same time, however, the “car” concept is not innovative. While Google’s driverless concept is, the vehicle itself is not. Cars have been around for my entire 28 years of life; to find out how innovative cars were when they first arrived, you’d have to ask someone’s relative who remembers an older family member driving a Ford model-T when it became America’s vehicle. My grandparents were born in the ‘30s, so they would remember more about that era than I would. While cars have been around for approximately eighty years (read that right: EIGHTY!), society has not exhausted the potential of the vehicle. Within the last few years alone, we have learned that cars can utilize safety technology to prevent accidents and minimize vehicle damage upon impact. Cars can also alert drivers as to when they must stop and refill their gas tank to avoid car death in the middle of the highway. As of this moment, Apple has decided to take Siri to Chevy vehicles with its “Eyes Free” program so that drivers need not look at Siri or the iPhone screen while driving. Drivers can thus stay focused while Siri does all the work that drivers need to do.
Google’s augmented-reality glasses are an innovation that capitalizes upon the invention of glasses in the past. There are those who, like me, are visually challenged and always need a pair of glasses to wear on a daily basis. Now, with Google Glasses, consumers will be able to do ordinary things (like set appointments, order concert tickets, send texts and emails, and post new FB, Google +, and Twitter statuses) better while on the go. Telling your glasses to “send a new Facebook post” is more effective than to walk around with your hands touching the virtual keyboard on a smartphone screen. With this technology, Google will eliminate the need to use your hands on small display screens, where you type an email and rely on autocorrect because of large fingers or fast typing.
Assessing all this, it seems reasonable that the iPod would be replaced by the iWatch. While iPods are not selling like iPhones and iPads today, many runners and fitness gurus rely upon the iPod Nano and the iPod Touch to play their collection of music while jogging, hiking, playing basketball, and other sports and outdoor activities. This is the reason why the iPod Nano was so popular as a wristwatch concept back before the iPod Touch emerged from Apple’s production line. Now, you need not worry about your iPod Nano, iPod Touch, or iPhone being the target of thieves; they’ll have to pry it off your arm to steal it now!
I was once a skeptic of the iWatch, but I am no longer. I have a tendency, as do many consumers, to want to keep items such as the watch in the past and immortalize them. At the same time, who knows how much benefit the watch can provide consumers in the future?