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You may have seen this iWatch concept floating around the web. Its Nike FuelBand design is unmistakable and it did make us wonder: could Apple and Nike have a lot of overlap in their wearables?
It’s a question we also posed to Nike’s VP of Digital Sport, Stefan Olander. Does Nike think that Apple is finding inspiration from what Nike is doing with its wristwear, given the close relationship between the two companies?
“I hope they are,” he told us. “We learned a lot from them with regards to designing simple experiences. I think we can bring a lot of value as it comes to designing for the body in motion.”
Research in motion
“Hopefully there’s something we can do with what we’ve done here that can inspire [an Apple watch] to be good for movement,” he added.
We previously heard word that Apple had hired Ben Shaffer, former innovation leader at Nike, and Jay Blahnik, a health and fitness instructor who consulted on the FuelBand for Nike.
T. Chase Meacham reports that if there was one thing on everyone’s mind at the annual All Things D tech conference held last week, it was Google Glass … and more broadly, the future of wearable computers.
For those who don’t know, a “wearable” is exactly what it sounds like — a tiny device that you wear (say, above the nose, clipped to a shirt, or on the wrist) that does one or more functions. Nike’s much-touted Fuelband was an early example, are are some watches. But with the launch of Glass, many people are looking to Google and other leaders for next steps — and some are predicting a soon-to-be exploding market for tiny wearable devices to do everything from directing us home, to snapping pictures of friends, to identifying strangers on the street.
Stewart Hunter reports that maybe that’s the question we’ll be asking ourselves in the 2020s. The concept certainly has the disruptive potential to become a generation defining piece of technology, and the hype has given it a healthy kick start. It could be the product, or perhaps the start of a product line, that creates a historical break of the world before and after it. That said, most of the world won’t be wearing this particular look in the next few years unless the price drops dramatically, the ability to manufacture it increases considerably and the developers create an explosion of glassware to give it more functionality. So what other wearables could be spotted in before the summer of 2015?
Over the past six months, if you’ve been able to look beyond rather than through the wearable tech ‘GLASS’ lens, you’ll have seen an increasing number of wearable devices appearing on the wrists rather than the faces of technophiles . The trend that started in the US is now gaining traction across the world’s major cities. Nike+’s FuelBand and Jawbone’s UP are the two trail blazing products. Both of them enable people to permanently monitor one of the fundamental aspects of their lifestyle, how active they actually are. The trend of life logging through discrete wearable technology has more recently entered Asian markets. Currently the Singapore supplier of Jawbone’s UP is out of stock, the trend is gaining momentum here.
Ted Samson reports that wearable technologies like Google Glasses, the Nike+ FuelBand, and Autographer are still in their infancy, but they’ve managed to pique the interest of organizations and users alike. A new study from Rackspace titled “The Human Cloud: Wearable Technology from Novelty to Productivity” reports that 18 percent of the population in the United States and United Kingdom are using wearable technology, and the majority of those users (82 percent of Americans and 71 percent of Brits) say these devices are making their lives better.
Beyond providing users with real-time data about their health or an augmented view of the world, wearable technologies will form an integral part of the “Internet of things,” the logical evolution of the cloud and big data. The idea is to enable sensor-equipped “things” to communicate with one another in meaningful, actionable ways. For that to happen, though, companies need to take care not to scare off would-be users by failing to address their privacy concerns.
Andrew Nusca reports that wearable computing is the next big wave in electronics, according to various self-proclaimed oracles in the technology industry.
That’s why there’s all this recent hubbub about Google Glass, the Internet-connected glasses-mounted computer. It’s also why rumormongers won’t cease in discussing a possible Apple watch of some kind. And it’s why your neighbor won’t take off his Nike FuelBand or Jawbone Up or Fitbit, even though it makes him look like he just got discharged by the local hospital.
If you’ve ever seen or read a work of science fiction, it becomes rather clear as to why wearable computing technology is embraced with such zeal: aside from being more aesthetically appealing than today’s mostly cuboid electronic devices, it is a step closer to the convergence of natural and artificial embodied by the cyborg, the person made superhuman thanks to the biological integration of electromechanical elements.
Sooraj Shah reports that wearable technology such as Google Glass, Nike+ FuelBand and the reported Apple iWatch will not only enhance consumers’ lives, but will also provide a new source of commercially exploitable data.
In an interview with Computing, Rackspace CTO John Engates explained that wearable technology would need to be supported by cloud-based services and big data analytics.
“The product is only as good as the data it produces. The novelty factor will wear off [for consumers], so businesses will have to focus on how useful the product is for them,” he said.