Google Productivity Pad: Why the Smartwatch Will Change the World (for the better)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why the Smartwatch Will Change the World (for the better)

It might seem like a big claim to say that the smartwatch will change the world, but at this point nobody can deny that major technologies have completely altered the way we do things. The refrigerator is a perfect example. Think of how our lives and the entire food industry was turned on its head by the refrigerator. Society was forever altered by the ability to keep food longer.

And if you want an example more close to your life look at the smartphone. What aspect of life has not been touched by this invention that is only 7 years old? If you think there is one just do a search an the App Store and I bet you will find out you are wrong :)

So yes, I posit that the smartwatch, and what it represents is about to change the world. Let me show you what I mean.

Imagine going from this:
Image from Death of Conversation by @babycakesromero

To this:
Image from

Did you see it? Its quick. But it is crucial. When we check our wrist for a notification, rather than our phone it makes it so much easier to ignore that notification and it only takes a fraction of the time. The watch is much small screen so it places a much smaller barrier between you and the people you are physically present with, not mention the fact that it normally does not physically come between you and those people as well because you simply glance down at your wrist.

Why is this a big deal? I mean it seems like such a simple thing. In fact most people ask me what else my smartwatch can do besides receive notifications. They say that that would never be a draw for them. Honestly I felt the same way, but now even if the only thing my pebble did was receive notifications I would still get it just for that.

But here's the thing, we all have this false idea that an emergency could develop at any time, so we need to be connected to the world constantly. A smartwatch satisfies that "need" with out as much distraction as pulling out a smartphone every time.

Fitness Tracking
Thomas Monson has said that, "when performance is measured, performance improves." Most wearables have the ability to track you health metrics like steps and sleep, whether you bought them for that or not. And when you have something tracking how much you walk each day, let me tell you that you walk more. Different devices will have different health capabilities, but the general trend will be toward a population that is not just more health aware, but also actually more healthy.

Image from

Cracked Screens
How many cracked screens do you see a day? Probably at least a few, and why? In part because so many people walk around with their phone in their hand. Some people even run or jog while holding it in their hand! That is like saying you want a cracked screen. The Smartwatch will change all that.

Image from Mashable

Because I have a Pebble, when I am walking I don't need to pull my phone out to check a notification or the time, it is right there on my wrist and it isn't going to fall on the ground and shatter. I don't need to hold my phone in my hand while I am exercising because all of my music controls are conveniently located on my wrist as well.

Therefore I predict that when wearable technology comes into wide use we will see the number of cracked phone screens drastically reduced.

But some people hate watches
A lot of people say that smartwatches will never take off because there are not enough people who like to wear watches. That might have been a great argument until Apple entered the game. Next year the entire wearable industry is about to take a giant leap forward because the Apple machine is going to be thrown behind the Apple watch.

Apple has the power to design something so well that it becomes an integrated part of our life. Before the advent of the iPhone, smartphones/PDAs were the domain of business execs and nerds taping away on Blackberrys and Palm Pilots (I know because I was one of the nerds). Then 2007 rolled around and everything changed. The same thing happened with tablet in 2010, they had existed before, but very few people used them. Previously the same thing had happened to the MP3 player and in the distant past, the personal computer.

Image from

Each time Apple has defined a product category, it has exploded, and not just for Apple. The entire industry rises because of the popularity Apple brings to something. I expect to see sales of all wearables dramatically increase next year because of the attention Apple will bring to that market.

So I expect to see lots of people who said they don't like watches to start wearing them in the next 5 years, and I think they will be better for it. And watches are just one category of wearables. Most of the other categories, like glasses, goggles, pendants, etc still have a long way to come for mainstream use, but it is wave of the future and they will improve as time goes on.

Disappearing Technology 
Jack Dorsey (cofounder of Twitter and Square) has said that the best technologies "fade into the background, and they're relevant when you want to use them, and they get out of the way when you don't."

This is what I believe will ultimately let the smartwatch change the world. It is so good at disappearing, making you forget it is there until you need it. There is more that I have to say on this point but it will have to wait for another post.

These were just a few of the ways that smartwatches could change the world. If you can think of others please let me know in the comments below. I hope you have found this post enlightening and I would invite you to share it with others who might want to know more about smartwatches. Thanks for reading, and remember, live better.

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