13 March 2015 | Team Tamar

Wearable tech: Is the Apple Watch a game-changer?

We predicted at the beginning of the year that 2015 is set to be the “year of wearable tech” and Monday’s Apple event only confirmed it.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch has caused quite a stir, in both the offline and online world. After its initial announcement back in September 2014, the March 9th event earlier this week confirmed its release date as April 24th.

Apple Watch

It may not be cheap, but it comes with a variety of features that are arguably difficult to compete with. The gadget communicates with your iPhone, via both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and boasts an all-day battery life. It’s worth noting that “all-day” in the Apple world translates to 18 hours…

Usability

New research from Accenture has revealed that the public may not be as keen on the high-tech gadgets as we might think. 21% of consumers say that smart devices are “too complicated to use”, with problems such as set up and not being as described.

Current competitors

There are numerous smart gadgets around; the majority of them being smartwatches as that seem to be the “trendy” option right now. Here’s a selection of some of what’s out there and what we can learn from them:

Pebble

Pebble is arguably the biggest rival of the Apple Watch. They entered the smartwatch market back in 2013 thanks to crowd funding platform Kickstarter. Their devices have multiple features including smartphone notifications, activity tracking and Bluetooth connectivity. It is also compatible with both Android and iOS which would be good news to all the non-iPhone owners out there.

The company is known for its jovial nature on social media, which it demonstrated on Monday when they tweeted about watching Apple’s event.

Fitbit

Fitbit are renowned for their fitness and activity trackers; the first of which being the Fitbit Tracker. Unfortunately for the company, they recently released a statement saying that their latest product, the Surge, has been causing skin rashes – the second of their trackers to do so.

Fitbit watch

This shows that usability and accuracy aren’t the only things to consider when creating wearable tech, but also the practical issues such as possible health concerns related to the materials.

Google Glass

First Google Plus and now Google Glass; Google aren’t great at cracking the latest trends. Their famous smart glasses stopped production at the beginning of the year, three years after its launch in 2012. Unfortunately the public didn’t take to the product as expected and the company have been forced to re-assess the project and figure out how to improve it.

Tip: Think long term

Tortoise vs Hare

The research by Accenture suggests that 41% of consumers plan to buy a smart watch in the next 5 years, compared to only 12% who plan to buy it in just one. Despite the very large price tags, it may financially beneficial for brands to spend more time in developing their products rather than getting it out as quickly as possible (Google learnt the hard way).

Customer experience should be the number one priority. Functionality is key to consumer sentiment; Apple may pride itself in focusing more on the style for the Apple Watch than previous products but if it isn’t easy to use then there will be a lot of angry customers.

Team Tamar