Google Glass and iWatch…the next big thing?

10th May 2013

If the latest predictions are right, we will soon be using our eyes and wrists to control our smartphones and their apps.  But, as always with high profile release, it will be anywhere between 6 months and 3 years before we see either Google Glass or Apple’s iWatch hit the shops, depending on which leak the information came from.

Google Glass has already been given out (well, sold for $1,500) to over 1,000 testers, while the iWatch is yet to be officially confirmed by Apple.  Both will be able to do everything your current smartphone already does, with some slight tweaks and different controls.  Some forecasters believe that these two will lead the race to sell 500 million wearable devices annually by 2018.

First things first, which is the most practical?  Would you be happy wearing glasses all day (unless prescribed, which is a subject for another day)?  And what about the look of the iWatch.  There is a host of varying images doing the rounds, some of which have it as a slim line sports watch, while others predict it will follow the style of the existing iPhone which will surely be too bulky.  Whatever the size of the watch, it has to be easier to wear day to day than the glasses.

iWatchThe general consensus among the professional Apple predictors, of which there seems to be a huge amount, is that the iWatch will support Bluetooth, allowing it to be compatible with other devices such as the iPhone or iPad.  Many also think it will be the first to use the shockproof, waterproof and ultra-flexible Willow Glass, allowing it to wrap around the users wrist.

There is more information available about Glass, as Google already have a dedicated website and the army of testers – the ‘Glass Explorers’.  The lightweight glasses allow you to take voice-activated pictures and videos and upload them straight to the internet.   Making the most of the voice control, the glasses will allow the user to send messages, ask for directions and get real time translations, with everything displayed on a tiny screen on the top right of the frames.  Google has also confirmed the use of painful-sounding, bone-induction technology, which channels sound through your skull straight into your inner ear.

When it comes to a choice between the two, it will be more complicated than simply being an Apple or Android fan.   Some might not want to wear a pair of glasses, however light they are.  Others might question the need for a watch that, to be used to its potential, will need to be synced to the phone in your pocket.

Glass has already come under some scrutiny, with sceptics saying it will be used by advertisers to almost literally get in people heads, while others have said it invades privacy with the easy and inconspicuous image and video recording abilities.

The key to their success, as always, will be the cost and its perceived value.  With the trial glasses sold for $1,500 and the cost of production thought to be around $200, there is lot of room for manoeuvre, but Google lack the experience of selling direct to consumers.  Apple has traditionally been pretty successful with their pricing strategies, but this is a whole new category of products.  How much would you pay for technology that you already have in your pocket, to be strapped to your body?