In 2014, it seemed like every tech company had eyes on our wrists. The technology surrounding connected wearable devices is impressive, but last year saw a disappointing lack of truly compelling – and useful – wearable products. The usual suspects of the tech industry announced various wrist-based smart things, but the really smart watches were thrust into the public eye via the fashion industry. Apple had already caught speculative attention by hiring execs with backgrounds in fashion and fitness, including Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve and former CEO of Burberry Angela Ahrendts. 2014 saw this all culminating in the Apple Watch being introduced to the fashion industry via the front cover of Vogue China.
Similarly, Google turned to Luxottica, the company behind Oakley and Ray-Ban, in an attempt to shed the ‘Glasshole’ moniker that threatened to forever tarnish Glass users. In partnership with the eyewear brand, Glass users have access to more subtle, naturalistic looking frames. A delightfully baffling collaboration with FKA Twigs earned Google some much-needed street-cred.
Wearables are in danger of being designated to the novelty pile unless the technology can offer compelling and practical uses to consumers. We have already seen a preference from users towards more subtle, ‘invisible’ technology, suggesting a strong desire for products like smart textiles (which have sensors embedded in them) and Kickstarter funded ‘The Ring’, which promises portable and accurate gesture-control.