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Vox Pop: The Apple Watch and The Future of Wearables (Part 2)

The new Apple Watch seems to have bitten off more than it can chew promising the future of the 'internet of things' that it can connect mind, body and virtual reality. Who better to ask than the heads of creative, digital innovation and wearable tech themselves on their opinion of the new wrist device? Amongst raving reviews, there seems to be a curse lingering for those who have bought into the new gadget; which doesn't seem to be ready for its own potential.

Part 2: The curse of the 'early adopter'

Wes Hogg, Creative and Strategy Consultancy Director, ClearPeople

OK, I’m a victim or an ‘early adopter’. I tried to tell myself I didn’t need one, but my compulsive shopping disorder kicked in. So is it the future? Well it was supposed to be the beginning of a more organised future for me. Like Pavlov’s dogs it uses an electric shock, no sorry ‘haptic feedback’, to remind me when I have a meeting, have an email, or even need to stand up and move about a bit. Saying all of that I seem to still ignore all of the above. Maybe I need to adjust the reminder settings to ‘stun’!

But the killer feature for me is that I can order an Uber taxi in one click. Actually, if it only did this and looked as good as it does I would probably still buy it! The real downside is that if your iPhone isn’t within 5 meters it’s a bit “all fur coat and no knickers” - it looks the part but is actually pretty dumb. “It’s our most personal device yet” but only if it’s within spitting distance of your iPhone… otherwise it all it does it tells the time - I mean, just like a watch…

Matt Pollitt, Director, 5K Design

After experimenting with early wearable devices like Google Glass, the moto360 and recently ReconJet, I really still see the smart watch as an early adopter device – it is just too pricey and doesn’t deliver enough to go mainstream in its current form. It still just feels like an expensive accessory to my phone, as opposed to a new platform itself.

In the grander scheme of things, wearables have the potential to be so much more than just expensive notification centres. Maybe that is just down to the lack of truly ground-breaking applications currently available on the devices or app-stores.

However I believe the key to truly useful wearable devices is integration with not just other devices on your person, but those in your home, in public, in your car and all around you. It is this ecosystem of interconnected devices and people that has the potential to change the way we interact with both the digital and physical worlds around us. Without this, I believe wearables will not secure their own future – but follow the long list of devices that now gather dust all around the country. 3D TV anyone?

Craig Jones, Head of Development, RBH

Despite not wearing my FitBit for months and discovering that the Samsung Gear simply replicates functions of a mobile device, I've been really keen to see how the Apple Watch lives up to the competition. The design and craftsmanship is impressive, however I think it will be the innovation of apps that will prove the big draw. As well as the expected features, like email and texts, the latest generation of wearables will start to realise the potential of the tech. As a health tracker, or as a camera remote; we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of new functionality. As well as redefining established concepts, like mobile payment, purely through always-to-hand nature of the tech. As with any new platform, it’s the developers, not the manufacturers, who will decide the success of the wearable market.

Gareth Moss, Founder, The Blueprint

The hype-cycle of any new product provides opportunities for brand and agencies alike. But traditionally new opportunities were fewer and more of an assured bet and less of a high-tech gamble.

While I don't believe Apple Watch will be another Google Glass, a considered and measured approach to how fast and how much agencies and brands embrace the next big thing has to be advised. You only need to look around today to see we are surrounded by potentially disruptive products and new categories from Oculus Rift's virtual reality, wearable tech through to the emergence of the internet of things.

Whether you are looking to capitalize on the emergence of a new market with complimentary or a competitive offer, placing your bet on the right product at the right time is what the most progressive agencies and brands seem to do best. (Most of the time)

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