Since Apple (AAPL) unleashed the iPhone on the world in 2007, the technology world has been in a fierce race for control of the mobile computing market. Smartphones and tablets have dominated the sector, but other than improved phones and tablets there has not been a lot of new product innovation.
That is about to change. We are nearing a new age in technology, one that takes our mobile devices out of our pockets and places them on our bodies. Wearable computing seems to be the next big shift in technology, and as you would expect the two companies at the front of the new industry are Apple and Google (GOOG).
Apple is working on the iWatch, which could hit the market by the end of the year. Google is working on Google Glass, a pair of smartphone glasses, which the company has said will be available to purchase later this year.
Apple has not made an official announcement as to whether or not the iWatch will hit the market this year, but with Google having confirmed the launch of Google Glass coming before the end of the year it makes sense that Apple will also try to bring its wearable computer to market as soon as possible.
The products are very different in nature, but both aim to accomplish the same goal, allowing users to access information without having to pull their phones out of the pockets. Their launch will spur a major technological revolution, which will eventually change the world as we know it… but which is the better buy for consumers?
Let's look at what both devices are likely to do.
Both the iWatch and Google Glass will most likely be able to tell time, provide basic search functions, give users instant notifications, and send emails. Theoretically, this will all be done hands free.
Now let's look at a couple differences.
Google Glass will be able available to use a navigational device. It will be able to access Google Maps, and eliminate the need to have a personal GPS device. You will be able to use Google Glass to take photos and video, and control other devices.
But the iWatch has its own list of things that could make it more attractive than Google Glass. First, you will be able to wear it all the time. Unlike Google Glass, which will have limitations on where you can wear it (mainly because of its photo and video recording ability), people will be able to wear the iWatch everywhere. The iWatch will most like have silent vibrations for certain things. Sure, you can set your iPhone to give a different vibration based on who is calling, but it is not as easy to interpret as it would be on your wrist.
The iWatch is expected to have kinetic charging, so will literally never have to take it off. You can use it in the gym in place of your iPod, you can check email and search the web without taking your phone out of your pocket.
In the battle I think the Google Glass will come out the winner. The main reason is that it simply offers something brand new. How many times have you dreamed of recording everything you see, or be able to view recorded content or maps with your glasses. It will be revolutionary.
The iWatch, on the other hand, appears to be just an extension of what we already have in our lives. Yes, it will make a lot of things we do easier, and perhaps with time it will feature things that we never dreamed of before, but it is simply not as exciting as Google Glass. Some people will shy away from a product that you have to wear like glasses, but once they start to see the possibilities they will become a must have.
Extreme sports athletes will love being able to record their activities, drivers will enjoy having maps in front of their eyes, and parents will love being able to record their kids soccer game without having to hold a camera.
The possibilities seem endless with Google Glass, while the iWatch seems to be limited to basically what we can already get from an iPhone.
Both devices are important in that they are going to change the world in ways no one can imagine. The future is here, and the next 5 years we are going to see things we never could have imagined just a few years ago.
The iPhone and tablet changed the computing world; wearable computers are going to change the entire world.