Apple Watch and Google Glass, compared

For the second time since 2013, I’ve been having the opportunity for a series of conversations with random strangers around a piece of consumer technology.

Back then, it was Google Glass, and the conversations usually went like this:

“Are those the Google glasses? . . . No way. Are you recording me? . . . Oh, okay. How do you like them?”

These days, it’s the Apple Watch, and the conversations are going like this:

“Is that the iWatch? . . . No way. It’s not that big! How do you like it?”

Therefore, takeaway number 1 about these two instances of “wearable computing” :

No one feels threatened by a watch.

Followed immediately by takeaway 1A:

No amount of marketing will make real people learn your heavily focus-grouped product name.

All that said, after a couple of days of wearing the watch, it seemed like an idiosyncratic feature comparison of the devices might be in order. You can see them arrayed as a sortable table in my late April post at http://owenyoungman.com/2015/04/29/google-glass-v-apple-watch/, of which the following is a screenshot:

(Admittedly this omits a few features where comparison seems less possible, like mobile commerce and language translation …it’s not like a Glass user could wink to pay at Starbucks, or a Watch user convert a sign from Spanish to English by lifting her wrist. And of course the feature set for the watch is expanding and morphing, just as happened during the Glass Explorer project, so the above is just a moment in time.)

So, what’s the bottom line? I can’t buy Google Glass right now, even if I wanted to. Should I order a watch for summer delivery?

Well, it’s much the same answer as for Glass in 2013. I’d say sure . . . if:

  • You want to imagine where technology might go next, or
  • You want to demonstrate where technology hasn’t gone yet, or
  • You’re paid to think about digital media strategy.

If so, send me a “digital touch” when your watch arrives.

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