Smartphone News, wearables

Will the Apple Watch Bring Wearables to the Mainstream?

Apple WatchAfter years of speculation, Apple finally unveiled its Apple Watch at an event last September. And on April 24th, consumers will have the opportunity to buy the Apple Watch and try it out. It’s an exciting moment in the mobile technology world, not only because it’s Apple’s first wholly “new” project since the iPad launched in 2010, but also because it will be an important test to see if the mainstream marketplace really wants to accept wearable technology.

Wearable Failures

Aside from fitness trackers, wearables have made no significant impact on the mainstream marketplace. That’s not for lack of trying, either. Major technology companies have tried their hand at developing wearable devices, and with little or no success.

Samsung Galaxy Gear

In September 2013, Samsung launched a smartwatch called the Galaxy Gear. Much was made about how Samsung beat Apple to the punch by releasing a watch, but the actual device received lukewarm reception in the mobile tech world, and hasn’t been a sales juggernaut by any means.

Google Glass

Samsung still had a better experience with wearables than Google, which tried to set the world on fire with the Google Glass. The Glass, had it ever seen an official release, would have been a pricey, hands-free, and head-mounted computer system. Essentially, the device would allow for many of the same features as a smartphone—GPS navigation, Internet browsing, etc.—but would keep everything on a lens screen right in front of the wearer’s eye.

The Glass was distributed among beta testers through a so-called “Glass Explorers” program, but received criticisms over privacy concerns. Specifically, some people were worried that a Glass user could switch on the device’s camera and film or photograph others without their permission or knowledge. The Glass was also mocked relentlessly for how users looked while wearing it and The Daily Show even did a segment making fun of Glass testers and the device, in general.

As of January 2015, Google had stopped producing the device, and while the company says it still plans to push a mainstream release eventually, it’s difficult to see the public embracing the gadget after all of the criticism it has received.

The Apple Watch

If neither Samsung nor Google could find success with wearable technology, then what are the chances that Apple will beat the odds? On one hand, Apple has a remarkable track record over the past decade and a half of being able to sell just about anything to its customers. From iPods to MacBooks, iPhones to iPads, the Apple brand still stands as a sign of quality and innovation in the technology world. And based on how they’ve taken their time with the Apple Watch, rather than racing to beat Samsung or Google to the market, it seems as if that commitment is alive and well.

In other words, if any device is going to make wearable technology a mainstream, must-have thing, then the Apple Watch is that device. There are still a few questions left unanswered. For instance, will customers see a need for the Apple Watch if they already have an iPhone or iPad? And will the battery life of the device be enough to justify someone wearing it around on their wrist all day? (Apple says the device offers 18 hours of battery life, but that will of course depend on how much someone is using the device.) In any case, we can’t wait to get answers come April!