New technologies don’t become popular with the masses unless they’re sexy. And that’s exactly the obstacle that smartwatch makers — including Apple, which will reportedly release its own entrant later this year — must overcome.
Smartwatch technologies are still in their early stages (read: awkward), which means most current designs are unfortunately bulky and industrial-looking, and not very fashionable. That might appeal to some men, but the current designs might not attract any appearance-obsessed techies, particularly those with two X chromosomes.
Sorry guys, but smartwatches aren’t going to take off unless they’re appealing to women, too.
When you take “smart” out of the equation, watches designed specifically for women don’t look like men’s watches. Women’s watches tend to have smaller and thinner wristbands, as well as smaller watch faces. This means smartwatch designers will need to either appeal to both sexes with one singular design (which is ideal), or release two separate models for men and women.
There are two unreleased smartwatches dominating the conversation: The first is Google and Motorola’s Moto 360 smartwatch, which unfortunately looks bigger and bulkier than originally anticipated; the other is Apple’s secret smartwatch project, which many presume to be called “iWatch.”
Many wonder what Apple’s watch will look like; some think it will look like the old iPod Nano, or a curved iPhone, or even similar to the Moto 360. Others still believe it will look more like a bracelet, similar to Samsung’s Gear Fit.
Apple would be wise to consider the bracelet look, which was lovingly mocked up on Dribbble by Thomas Bogner. After all, Livestrong Foundation managed to sell more than 80 million of its yellow bracelets over the last decade, inspiring hundreds of other multicolored copycats in the process. It’s a smart, simple, asexual design.
Sure, Livestrong’s bracelets had the cheap price going for it, but they did a lot of things right: They were sold in a one-size-fits-all solution, easy to take on and off, comfortable to wear, and offered a fashionable, colourful touch to one’s appearance. Smartwatches, particularly Apple’s, ought to match all of these descriptors if they hope to become popular.