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Why I’m Weary Of Wearables

An editor’s letter on why smartwatches are all show, no substance.

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So, here’s the thing: I was once enraptured by the idea of wearable technology. In theory, wearables were the realization of my childhood reveries, as well as the unanswered question of how to best accessorize your evening wear while simultaneously keeping must-have apps in tow.

New tech is the epitome of cool, at least most of the time. Yet, more and more, I’ve grown weary of the wearable trend.

Let’s start with the obvious: most wearable tech is completely unwearable. Need I mention Google Glass? Oh wait, Jon Stewart beat me to that one. Glass half empty, indeed.

Trend reports also show that sales figures for Google-powered wearable devices aren’t exactly spectacular. For instance, according to research firm Canalys, few more than 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped in 2014—out of 4.6 million. Totaling sales at about 16 percent is a pretty meager showing, but Android will have a bigger problem when the Apple Watch finally debuts in April.

Speaking of, Apple’s take on wearable tech isn’t garnering a lot of positive attention either. Most recently, Brian X. Chen of The New York Times called out Apple for marketing a smartwatch to a public completely uninterested in smartwatches. In addition to rumors about it’s a less-than-impressive battery life, the Apple Watch also requires a connection to an iPhone to actually work. Independent app developer David Barnard was also quoted saying that he was skeptical about the practicality of the Apple Watch. “I really wonder exactly how I’m going to use and how often I’m going to use it,” said Barnard.

Fortune even released a survey today in which they asked analysts to estimate how many watches Apple would sell in the 2015 calendar year. The answers ranged from 8 to 41 million, averaging at around a paltry 2.5 million units sold per month.

Making a smartwatch is cool—in theory. I’m fascinated that these smartwatches essentially have a circuit board the size of a postage stamp, and my curiosity is piqued by how tech gurus managed to make them. Beyond that, I’m really just over it.

Show me those tens of millions of people willing to queue up to pay a cool $350 or so for the Apple Watch (not including the rumored $10,000 models plated in 18-karat gold), and I’ll really be impressed.

Until then, I’m predicting that wearables won’t be the must-have accessory of 2015.

What do you think will come of smartwatches and other wearable tech? Comment below or tweet me @MNetAbbey.


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