Google Glass and Apple Watch

Apple Watch and Google Glass

I stopped wearing a watch when I got in the habit of checking my cell phone or looking at a wall clock for time.  I’ve also stopped wearing accessories (bracelets, rings, earrings and so on).  Really, at this time in my life, I’ve also stopped wearing ties.  The JawBone UP24 didn’t even stay on my wrist as It got in the way when I typed.

Google Glass and Apple Watch
Google Glass and Apple Watch

My big debate when the Apple Watch was announced was if I would wear it.  Dropping $400 on something I may or may not use is a tough call.  I already tried Google Glass and it didn’t stick.

I’ve been wearing my Apple Watch for about a month now.  (This excludes the week I spend at Boy Scout camp because very little technology can survive that so I left the watch at home.)  It seems a good time to write this.

Both Glass and Apple Watch are new technology ecosystems.  Think back to when you got your first smart phone before all the apps were created.  That’s where we are with both Glass and Apple Watch.  The first apps on Apple Watch are really tiny extensions of iOS apps.

Google Glass is a future technology into partial augmented reality.  As the wearer, Glass was rather unobtrusive.  My best use of Glass was when I was driving.  The map would appear on my sun visor.  Calls and other distractions were projected in front of me so my eyes stayed on the road instead of reaching for the phone.  However, looking at someone wearing Glass was really different.  They just looked weird.  Headbands are not a common accessory for people.  I was almost too embarrassed to wear Glass in public – which might be another reason I used it mostly in the car.

Apple Watch is a new technology but not a future technology.  Apple Watch gains benefit because it pairs up to a phone where Google Glass was trying to work independently.  People are used to seeing other people wear watches so the technology is unobtrusive.

There is one catch that another reviewer pointed out: the social cue of looking at your watch when you are bored and want to leave.  Playing with your watch gives the impression that you have some where else you want to be.  Not good when you’re on a date or in a business meeting – or both.  A different reviewer made the suggestion of turning off all the alerts on the watch and only turning on those that you really want.  This is a good idea.  When I glance at my watch, a little red dot tells me if there are notifications.

Apple was right about the placement of the Apple Watch: the design reduces the number of times I pull my phone out to check for notifications.  Or at least reduces the amount of time it takes.  A glance at a watch is much quicker than a dig through my pockets.

I wear the watch for the activity monitoring and heart rate checks.  I wish it could check my blood pressure too since I’m supposed to be monitoring it.  Charging it nightly is fine as I charge my phone nightly too.  There have been no issues with the Apple Watch battery life.

Phone calls on Apple Watch are cool but quickly lose the appeal.  Mostly because I don’t like speakerphone.  In the car, I use earbuds.  Anywhere else, I hold the phone up.

Navigation is interesting.  The phone tells me the directions.  The watch augments this with three quick taps on my wrist that a turn us coming up.  Very helpful when someone is talking and the radio is turned up – or both.  I’m not fully trusting of Apple Maps but so far it has been right.

Emails are not worth reading on the watch.  My eyesight is poor enough that I just reach for the phone.  However, reminders and text messages are good on the watch.

The subconscious kicker for me between Glass and Apple Watch is security.  My trust in Google to “not do evil” has been eroding over the past few years.  Too much information is gathered about usage to sell advertising.  This has really been a subtle yet driving reason for me to go all-in on the Apple products.  I have more faith that Apple will not collect data or keep it private.  Wearable technology can generate a lot of meta-data about you and that makes me nervous.  That may turn into the biggest reason to stay away from wearables.

Will I wear the Apple Watch forever?  Probably not.  I predict that in three or four years, I’ll consolidate down to two primary devices.  First, a phablet (large smart phone) – combining the functions of the iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad.  Second, a laptop – combining the functions of the iMac desktop and MacBook Air laptop.  Depending on where the kids are in their technology needs, we’ll either have a family desktop or a sharable docking station to have one larger monitor.

Wrapping this up: should you buy an Apple Watch?  If you’re an Apple junkie, like new tech and want to be on the cutting edge (not bleeding edge), then yes buy one.  If you prefer your technology a little more stable, off the edge into the mainstream, and better supported with a range of apps, then wait for the next generation of watch.

Just be remember, an Apple Watch has the life expectancy of a cell phone not a watch.  You don’t buy the Apple Watch expecting it to last more that three or four years.