Too often, those who try to explain Apple’s spectacular rise from the ashes fail to note the obvious.
First, there’s the company’s love of simplicity. (Hmm, someone should write a book about that one.)
Second, there’s the company’s love of humanity. That is, Apple has never created technology for technology’s sake. It creates technology that strikes a chord with human beings.
That’s why Apple’s marketing typically focuses more on humanity and less on technology. And that’s why Apple has succeeded in disrupting multiple product categories on a global scale.
This is something to keep in mind as we ponder the looming revolution: wearable technology.
In the limelight now are Google Glass (coming soon) and Apple’s iWatch (rumored).
During Tim Cook’s interview at AllThingsD yesterday, he indicated that wearable technology is of great interest to Apple. That bodes well for the world ever seeing an iWatch. More important, he reiterated the philosophical difference between the approaches of Apple and Google.
That difference is something I’ve pointed out to all who can bear listening to me.
Pretty much everyone on earth is comfortable wearing a watch. A watch offers utility and fashion. On the other hand, those who need glasses go to extraordinary means not to wear them (contacts, surgery). Glasses do offer fashion, but given the choice, most people prefer not wearing glasses at all.
If glasses were ever considered the official symbol of nerd-dom, Google Glass will take that perception to an extreme.
Don’t get me wrong. Google Glass is a pretty nifty device. It looks cool, and will certainly appeal to the tech crowd. But when Apple disrupts, it disrupts on a far bigger scale.
iPads, for example, appeal to every age group, every occupation, in every country. They’re loved by parents and kids, as well as by CEOs and doctors.
If wearable technology is to take root, it will have to strike a similar chord across a wide range of people.
But do we really need watches at this point? Aren’t our phones replacing our watches?
Well, sort of. But in the process, we’ve definitely lost some convenience.
Not that we expend too many calories reaching into our pockets to tell the time, but doing so is not nearly as simple as looking at one’s wrist. An iWatch would provide both convenience and a potential platform for a new world of wrist-apps.
That’s a recipe for lustworthiness — which is a necessary ingredient in any technology revolution.
Another ingredient is ease of adoption. Unfortunately for Google, common sense says that Glass will face obstacles that an iWatch will not. This is a direct result of the different philosophies behind each device.
Convincing someone to wear technology on their face is an uphill battle. And while you can’t intimidate anyone by wearing a watch, you can definitely do so by wearing Glass. People may well feel like you’re pointing a camera at them.
The fact is, you can’t have a revolution without a huge number of eager customers. So what it boils down to is this: what wearable technology are most people willing to wear?
You’re a human being. You probably have a good answer for that already.