Will iWatch Announcement Translate to Profit for Wearable-Tech Industry?


Apple commanded headlines this week by announcing the new iPhone 6, Apple Pay, and iWatch. The seamless integration between these goods and services is also noteworthy, as it seems to be Apple's way of guiding us into the wearable revolution one step at a time. Yet skeptics are still wary of whether we the people are ready to fully embrace the geek. Over at CNN, Jeff Yang writes:

The question I'm interested in is whether Apple's long-awaited arrival in the buzzy wearables category finally means that people—regular people, that is, not pixel-pushing pundits and Tesla-driving tech titans—are ready to wear them.

The fact is, while wearables have generated a lot of attention, they're being used a lot less than the fanfare might suggest.

According to the NPD Group and Strategy Analytics, only about 14 million fitness bands and activity trackers and about 2 million smartwatches were sold globally over the 12 months ending this past March. (Everything else—Google Glass, cloud cameras, digital jewelry, wi-fi socks, connected underwear—basically represents a rounding error.) Compare that with the number of smartphones sold around the world: 964 million. That's the difference between a niche product and an emerging necessity.

As Yang notes, Google Glass (for instance) may not have the numbers. However Glass has helped pioneer the path into wearable tech, and provoked questions of privacy and connectivity that will surely arise as wearables gain popularity. Reason TV delved into some of these questions earlier this year: 

"Google Glass: Privacy, Journalism, and the Dawn of Wearable Technology," produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. About 7 minutes.

Original release date was May 16, 2014, and the original writeup is below.

"I do believe that our mobile phones are going to be outdated and are going to be replaced with wearables," says University of Southern California journalism professor Robert Hernandez. "So my end goal is augmented reality, or AR storytelling. This is technology that's emerging, and Glass is a really great wearable platform that is very early, but has a lot of potential to do that."

Hernandez is incorporating Google Glass into his journalism class curriculum next year, and plans to take this technology and build a media platform around it. He sat down with Reason TV's Tracy Oppenheimer to discuss how Google Glass works and its potential capabilities. He also addresses privacy concerns and other critiques of this wearable technology.

"The truth is that we don't have privacy, and in public places there are all these cameras recording us all the time. So if this is going to help you realize and be aware, and be a more engaged citizen, that's great," says Hernandez.

About 7 minutes.

Produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. Camera by Paul Detrick and Alexis Garcia.

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