Showing all posts tagged wearable:

When is a Wearable not a Wearable

CNET reports that Nike are getting out of the wearable market.

Best comment:

But seriously.

The tech commentariat is going crazy, passing around the conspiracy theory that Tim Cook, who sits on Nike’s board, killed the FuelBand effort.

M. G. Siegler:

> I’ve been saying
this
for a while
Tim Cook remaining on Nike’s board while Apple readies its own health/fitness-focused device was
awkward at best
.
[John Gruber](
http://daringfireball.net/linked/2014/04/18/nike-fuelband “CNet: Nike Fires FuelBand Engineering Team; Set to Exit Wearable Hardware Market" )

Interesting, particularly when you consider that Tim Cook sits on the Nike board.

Nick Heer
:

It’s worth remembering that Tim Cook is on Nike’s board, and that Nike and Apple have long collaborated on fitness.

I don’t think that Tim Cook strong-armed Nike into dropping the FuelBand to favour Apple’s own iWatch. It’s simply that “wearable tech" is not a discrete device. I wore a Jawbone Up! band for more than a year, but when I somehow ripped off the button end against a door frame, I couldn’t be bothered to replace it, and I don’t miss it. The only thing that class of wearables - Fitbit, FuelBand, Up!, they’re all interchangeable for the purpose of this discussion - is generating moderately interesting stats on your everyday level of activity. Sure, it was mildly amusing to get back to the hotel at the end of a long day wandering around Manhattan and upload that I had walked thirty thousand steps, but I knew already that I had done a ton of walking simply by the feel of my legs and feet! When I took actual exercise, the Up! didn’t track it very well, because a wrist-mounted sensor isn’t very good at working out how hard you are cycling or snowboarding.

Instead, I use an app on my iPhone, which does GPS tracking. I still have an ancient - I mean, vintage - 4S, so I don’t have any of the fancy-schmancy M7 sensors in the 5S, but even so, it’s much better at actually tracking exercise than the dedicated devices.

Sure, I could go all in and get one of those heartbeat monitors and what-not, but quite frankly I can’t be bothered. I don’t exercise to beat some abstract number, although I admit to keeping an eye on my average speed on the bicycle. Given the low frequency of my outings (surprise! two kids take up a whole bunch of your free time), I’m quite happy with my 30 km/h average, without needing to plot heartbeat, hydration, etc.

It is looking more and more like Apple is not building a watch at all, and I think that’s exactly the right move. We have spent the last twenty years or so reducing the amount of devices we carry.
Why reverse that trend now?

1993-2013.jpg

Nike just saw which way the wind was blowing - maybe with a little help from Tim Cook.

Wearables

John Moltz points out that Apple has been doing wearables for over a decade:

Apple press release from Macworld 2003:

Burton Snowboards and Apple® today unveiled the limited-edition Burton Amp, the world’s first and only wearable electronic jacket with an integrated iPod™ control system.

Much like today’s wearables, it was a huge success. They sold literally dozens of them.

This wasn

t a one-off, either: [Ermenegildo Zegna did their own version](

http://www.engadget.com/2006/10/13/ermenegildo-zegnas-ipod-ready-ijacket/ “
Ermenegildo Zegna's iPod-ready iJacket
" ), much better looking and of course at eye-watering cost. I saw one of these in a shop, and it did look very good, but it cost more than my first car, so I passed.

zegna7-2006.htm.jpg

Apple and their partners have had actual products in the market for a decade. Google shows a bunch of vapourware, and they get all the press without having to deliver anything…

All this is to say: wearable tech isn’t exactly new. My own experience: after spending a couple of years with activity trackers on my wrist, I have reverted to using my iPhone for that. I also like nice watches - almost the only form of jewellery men can wear - and don’t plan on giving up any of mine just to get notifications on yet another screen. I may be wrong, but in a world where watches and even jackets last longer than smartphones, I can’t see any reason for wearables to take off.