A Smart(device) is All I Need

Marco Ament recently wrote about why he thinks Apple should stop development on a watch:

Portability is critical to modern device usefulness, and there are only two classes that matter anymore: always with you, and not. Devices that are always with you must fit comfortably into pants pockets without looking stupid.

But why do we need “smart” watches or face-mounted computers like Google Glass? They have radically different hardware and software needs than smartphones, yet they don’t offer much more utility. They’re also always with you, but not significantly more than smartphones. They come with major costs in fashion and creepiness. They’re yet more devices that need to be bought, learned, maintained, and charged every night. Most fatally, nearly everything they do that has mass appeal and real-world utility can be done by a smartphone well enough or better

I agree with Marco’s assessment of smart watches. At this point in time, watches have become a fashion accessory. Most people have phones (smart or not) that can tell time. Any other device they may have tells time: laptops, PCs, tablets. Putting technology on a watch does not really add any value.

Glasses, however, are a different matter altogether. I have seen reports of people getting kicked out of places for wearing Google Glasses, but really they are just delaying the inevitable. Although the Google Glasses today are very obviously obtrusive, I predict that in a few years you will not be able to tell the difference between regular glasses and the souped-up ones.

Using connected glasses, unlike a connected watch, does have a huge advantage: space. No matter how large your smartphone is, it still can not compare with the screen size of a laptop or PC. With “souped up” glasses, the screen is as big as you want it to be. Remove the need to interact with some kind of physical screen to get things done (I don’t think voice commands are cutting it), and you have a device that is portable, fashion-friendly (imagine Gucci Smart Glasses), and better in most ways than other smart devices.

If anything, Apple should be focusing on glasses instead of watches. It may take a little longer to get it right, but isn’t that what Apple is known for?