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May 13

Dueling philosophies: iWatch vs. Glass

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.

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  • Tony Crooks

    Actually, at present what I’d most like are spoken notifications and I’ve only just discovered that this is possible with iOS using the accessibility features. Info courtesy of http://gigaom.com/2013/05/17/ios-quick-tip-turn-on-spoken-notifications/

  • http://twitter.com/JessiDarko Jessica Darko

    Glass is just a bluetooth headset with a camera and display… it doesn’t actually do any real computing. all the “Apps” live in the cloud, and still glass is useless if you don’t have a smartphone or wifi network nearby to connect to.

    Basically you need an iPhone for glass to tether to… it’s an accessory, not a computer.

    It’s kinda astounding how little people seem to realize this.

  • Adam William

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  • Nameless Coward

    We need another bicycle for the brain, no make that a space plane.
    Current technology focusses on taking away tasks from the brain,
    rendering it more and more useless. Wall-E isn’t just fiction, and
    neither is the movie Idiocracy. Idiocracy is funnier too, and better ending ;)
    Recommended.

    Technology is a doubled edged sword. Apple should focus on
    empowering native functions. The brain is like a muscle, use it
    or loose it. We go to the gym and eat healthy so that we perform better.
    And so should we do for the brain. Alzheimer is increasing because
    we watch too much TV. Proven fact. When the brain needs not use
    it’s cognitive functions to input data and experiences, it will brake them down.

    Thus technology is a double edged sword and a real public debate is
    really needed. Either these devices empower the mind or the weaken it.
    It’s great spy tech too. Privacy is done, dead.

    I’d take it right in the brain if it were to stimulate, speed up, repair and grow the interconnects of the corpus callosum. With priority for the prefrontal dorsolateral cortex where reason resides.

    In short solve the split brain issue we humans are hampered with.
    it’s the reason we are right or left handed, sleep and creativity and the arts
    do not come natural to the most of us. The left brain is not dominant
    because, as thought, is better. No rather more retarded than the right
    hemisphere. It’s the weak link in the chain, slowing us down.
    Look it up.

    If Apple is really about humanity and the liberal arts. Fix this issue asap.
    Right in the brain.

    Otherwise, I’ve got this feeeling somebody’s watching meeehee
    I’ve got this feeeeeling somebody’s watchign meehee.

    I ain’t got no privacy. Ooh.

    Meh I’ll pass. Been a lab animal way too long.

  • http://seandillonsmith.com/ Sean Smith

    Samsung Anklet. Nah, just kidding. Google’s Sunglasses miss a core chord which is style. The only reason someone would wear glasses apart from those which are prescribed to them are for either sun protection, style or both. Google Glass has neither, though it does have a large amount of other functions, these are two basic principles I think should be addressed before the product will ever have mass appeal.

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  • http://smartic.us bryanl

    It’s actually quite astounding at just how wrong you are. Google Glass has the equivalent hardware of a Galaxy Nexus. It can run apps, and is not just an accessory. It tethers for GPS and mobile internet, but that’s about it. We are still in the early days with Glass, so judgements should be held.

  • Dale Cooper

    Hardware manufacturers can copy, iterate and innovate – that’s not the place to be as a company. It’s very hard to copy an entire services ecosystem based on contextual discovery – a gateway if you wish. Now thats where the smart money is

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