Recently I heard from an Apple Watch owner that they liked their Apple Watch, but they didn’t necessarily love it.

To most, the Apple Watch is only good for two things:

  1. Notifications, and
  2. Health Tracking

Sure it’s pretty good at those things, but it sounded like they were expecting more. Underwhelmed describes the feeling I’ve heard.

I’d agree for the most part but I’d also add in a third category for some niche uses, such as score and yardage golf tracking apps. Thing is, I’d bet that these many small niche categories are the ones that will have the biggest potential.

Eventually developers and users will truly understand how smart watches can change how we go about our day, the same way one niche apps like Uber (location tracking) and Instagram (photos) changed how we used smartphones. Remember, neither of those now omnipresent apps were on the iPhone 1!

October 23, 2001

The first iPod was released in 2001, and in reality its popularity didn’t spike until 2004 once the price came down and cross-platform non-Mac support came along.

Take a look at how iPod has physically evolved since then:

Various_iPods

All of these iPods have been discontinued or updated!

To where we’re at now:

IPod_line_as_of_2014

The iPod line as of 2014

We’re at a point now where the iPod line has plateaued.

The traditional click wheel iPods are no more, the iPod Touch models are basically iPhones, and the iPod Shuffle and Nano models haven’t been updated since 2012 and 2010, respectively!

One of the most transformative technologies we’ve ever seen has run its course in roughly a decade.

June 29, 2007

Eight years ago Steve Jobs famously unveiled three new revolutionary products: a widescreen touch iPod, a new mobile phone, and a breakthrough in internet communications.

But of course all three products were in one device, and we called it iPhone.

How old does this video feel?

Pull your phone out of your pocket right now – iPhone or not – and compare to this:

Iphone-1

Even at the 2D level you can’t ignore how far the iPhone has come.

And now, not even a decade into the iPhone’s existence, we’re starting to see similar plateauing to what we saw with iPod. The hardware and software advances in smart phones is starting to flatten out, and this is for everyone, not just Apple.

April 10, 2015

Which is all to say, it’s a damn interesting thought experiment to imagine where we’ll be with smart watches in five years.

Nearly two years ago I bought a Pebble, which is still going strong today. But consider the changes in just this short amount of time:

  • Screens are now in full color with Retina resolution
  • The watches themselves are much smaller, and more aesthetically pleasing
  • The OS and app functionality is well advanced
  • A multitude of buttons is replaced with a single traditional watch-style button and a touch interface
  • Speakers and a microphone let you talk to your wrist, social norms be damned!

apple watch pebble

Minus the lack of network connectivity, the Apple Watch isn’t far off from being an iPhone itself. So I wouldn’t be surprised if in 5-10 years the iPhone goes the way of the iPod and the Apple Watch becomes the flagship Apple device.

Is it that far of a leap to consider phones moving out of our pockets and onto our wrists (and who knows what else?!?) in the next 5-10 years?!?

It doesn’t matter if you’re already on the smartwatch bandwagon or you still think it’s a lot of fanfare for a very marginal technology advancement. However, don’t forget what history has shown us. How old, big, slow and outdated is the original Apple Watch in just a few short years?