CES came and went and with it the media was assaulted with hundreds of new wearable computer announcements. From watches to wearable clothing, we now have an incredible plethora of wearable tech options.
Marketing machines tell us we should buy now. Do consumers want them? And should communicators be concerned about yet another wave of new media — now wearable — that will require us to create content, apps and communities?
In the short term, probably not (more on that in a moment). But, communicators would be foolish to turn a blind eye to wearable media and apps.
These portable sensors and computer chips may not be in the most appealing form yet. They will be in the next five years though. PR pros and marketers will be forced to contend with yet another new media boom.
Certainly Apple will be the next brand that tries to break through to mainstream acceptability with its Watch. Personally, I am on record saying I don’t think Apple will be successful, based on my own experiences wearing the Samsung Gear S Watch. See, this is a neat toy and, as a geek, I love it. But it is bulky and has limited use. The most enjoyable aspect of the 3G empowered Gear is that it lets me leave my smartphone and all of its social media apps and work-email notifications at the office and home. People can find me in an emergency and I can call for help if an emergency arises, but I am untethered (by choice) when I wear it. Otherwise, it’s just a bulky digital watch/MP 3 player/pedometer thingy.
Apple’s Watch won’t have a 3G chip, instead requiring you to carry an iPhone or access a Wifi network. Hmmm.
That being said, while not necessarily a hypeworthy form factor, the Gear, the Watch and all of the other wearables do have a place. Particularly if they becomes less awkward and more intuitive. Wearable media is about pragmatic apps like the pedometer, anytime accessibility to location intelligence, and of course, audio content.
Yes, the content that works on these devices is audio. Believe me, reading articles, flipping through pics, and watching video on these watches is painful. Perhaps the dreaded return of the podcast is not overhyped, after all.
What do you think about wearable tech hype?
Call me old fashioned but I really enjoy the look and feel of a nice mechanical watch. My iPhone can handle the rest.