Interest in wearables like the Apple Watch and fitness tracking devices have already peaked.
Enthusiasm for the wearable category is declining towards the gloomy-sounding “trough of disillusionment,” according to Gartner’s annual Hype Cycle report on emerging technologies.
Before the Apple Watch was released in April, the market was flooded with new smartwatches and fitness trackers.
According to Gartner’s 2013 Hype Cycle, wearables were at the peak interest around the time when Samsung’s first smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, launched.
The Gear was met with a poor reception, and the hype around wearables slowed down. Yet, expectations still remained high as many waited for the Apple Watch, which was being hyped as being the ultimate example of smartwatch capability when it was going to be released.
But the Apple Watch was met with a resounding “meh” when it was released, as people’s expectations were too high. It’s more of a nice accessory than a must-have gadget like the smartphone.
However, just because a category doesn’t live up to expectations doesn’t mean it’s dead. Like many emerging technologies, the first wave of products tend to be the worst example of their categories. For example, the very first iPhone had no app store and it ran on a slow 2G network.
One the main drawbacks in smartwatches are their short battery lives and the fact that they do very little to justify their high price tags, and with high price tags come high expectactions.
So far, their best use it to show you some details of your notifications so that you don’t need to take your phone out of your pocket. But as time progresses and technology improves, smartwatches will surely become more appealing.
The Gartner report suggests that expectations in wearables will further decrease to a more realistic level where people will realise that smartwatches are just best used as watches rather than smartphone replacements.
Interest should pick up again when wearable technology matures in five to 10 years time when it reaches the “plateau of productivity,” where people’s interest will be rekindled, but not nearly as much as the initial hype.
That’s when we might see wearable batteries that last more than a single day, as well as refined user interfaces and general technology. But most importantly, price tags need to come down.
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