Tuesday, Apple unveiled three new products: the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch, Cupertino’s first (and long rumored) foray into the wearables category. We asked three top industrial designers their thoughts about the new products: Gadi Amit, of New Deal Design, which designed the Fitbit and Lytro; Brett Lovelady of Astro Studios, which did the Xbox 360; and Dana Krieger formerly with Teague, now with Astro Studios’ Minus 8 watch brand. Here’s what they had to tell us.
Can Apple’s new wearable device fix all these problems?
I’ve been using several different smartwatches over the past year. And what I’ve learned is that they are all great—at first. But after using them for an extended period of time, the simple frustrations that often get overlooked by early adopters become a plague of problems.
I keep pretending the current smartwatch market is fine because it is progressing somewhat. But now I’m a little scared. Because Apple just might announce a smartwatch at its September 9th event. And if the company that made the modern smartphone appeal to the mass market can’t get wearables right, it may stall the entire sector for years to come.
Here are the problems with the existing crop of smartwatches which I’m looking to see if Apple can address, either directly or indirectly, when they take the wraps off their iWearable.
Call it the Internet of things you hate losing.
The smartwatch of your dreams rests on one valuable commodity and the people who produce it.
The problem with wearables is that usually people stop wearing them. According to one recent report, one-third of users of activity-tracking wearables, like the Fitbit and the Jawbone, toss their devices aside after just six months.
To overcome this, a small cadre of companies has been furiously working to develop smaller, sleeker, more discreet devices that monitor health and wellness—in the form of temporary tattoos, band-aids, and ingestible pills.
Biometric data lets performers gauge their audiences interest in a scientific way and tailor their performance accordingly.
“This new type of audience sentiment data leads to better events and better fan experiences than ever before possible,” Lightwave creator and CEO Rana June tells Co.Design.
The emotionally charged exhibition used wearable tech to recognize more than just great ideas.
A great piece of film will always elicit an emotional response, be it joy, discomfort, laughter, or a touch of melancholy. We’ve seen the trend in advertising, wherein brands are going right for the cockles of the heart with emotionally rich stories. But unless you shed a tear or break out in laughter, it’s hard for an outsider to know what you’re really feeling.
Saatchi & Saatchi tapped into those inner emotions with its New Directors Showcase—an annual selection of the best new directing talent that’s presented at Cannes—which it called Feel the Reel. Along with showing films, the NDS is famous for the accompanying grand theatrical piece. This year, the global agency network tapped wearable technology to mine individual emotional reactions to the work and visualize it for all to see. In short, if one of the 18 filmmakers’ films made you cry, it was visualized through a bracelet that changed color with your emotions.
“We literally monitored people’s individual reactions to what they were watching and not in a way that they can control,” says Andy Gulliman, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide Film and Content Director and the curator of this year’s reel. “We’ve monitored their body and how their natural emotions react. We then created data from that, which gave us a response to what they’re watching. So if the brain is thinking that you’re going to cry, then that light comes on.”
June is a wearable UV monitor that tracks real-time and historic sun exposure, alerting users when they’ve soaked up too much sun.
With augmented reality contact lenses just a hop and a skip away, the era of having a digitally rendered face isn’t too far off.
Nike is reportedly laying off its Fuelband team to focus on fitness software, instead.
Nike will reportedly refocus its efforts on developing fitness software—Nike+, Nike+ Running, etc. And we’ve heard murmurs that Nike may be looking for a potential partner on the hardware side…
Can you say “iWatch”?
“Why’d you stop wearing it?" I asked him. "Oh," he said. "I keep forgetting.”