Make no mistake Apple is going to make some serious money with its Apple Watch and by many definitions be successful.
But, in a few years we're not going to look at it the same way we look back at the iPhone or iPad. Those were truly game changing devices.
Will the Apple Watch get better? Stand alone? The answers are probably yes, but how long will it take?
Bigger things are in the works. Smartphones, wearables, and tablets are going to combine into one category. This is going to happen sooner than most think.
Almost everything is a precursor to something else and this has never been more evident than with wearables and the Apple Watch in particular. Unsurprisingly, most reviews so far have been positive in tone, but with one caveat…wait till the next iteration. This isn’t uncommon with many products, even Apple.
Back to the convergence.
We have seen it on a smaller and less impressive scale with phablets (large smartphones), but something way bigger and way better is coming. Samsung, Nokia, and LG are making strides and if some reports are to be believed we can be looking at foldable displays as early as 2016.
Motley Fool and a host of other analysts believe otherwise. It's simply cost prohibitive to produce right now and there are still hurdles to overcome such as applying foldable properties to the rest of the device such as the battery.
What are some other hurdles to making this possible?
1. The ability to stand alone. As more people start wearing smartwatches, the next logical step is to ask why does it need to be tethered or essentially paired with a smartphone?
2. Battery life – with kinetic and solar power technologies already used by other watchmakers this could actually be one of the easier challenges to overcome. Our body heat could be an option as well. If a 15 year old can figure out how to do it for a flashlight, then it would be reasonable for a company like Apple or Samsung to do better.
3. Heat - here's a good rundown on the problem. Most have experienced the heat that can be generated when your smartphone is at full tilt. Imagine that attached to your wrist. Not good.
However, there is another option that is being led by Magic Leap and Microsoft with their augmented reality technologies. Rony Abovitz, CEO of Magic Leap, in a recent Forbes article indicated that there will not be a need for screens.
That has huge implications and could render foldable/stretchable screens unnecessary or at the very least steal its thunder.
The question is how far away are we from Magic Leap's tech, but with a $542 million investment last year led by Google and a video released last month, perhaps we are not too far away (though we don't know if the video was an actual live feed of the tech or simply a mock up to illustrate the concept).
The device itself is a set of glasses that stream light directly onto the eyes rather than how Oculus' virtual reality works, which "tricks" your eyes by simultaneously showing the same image at different angles. Supposedly, Magic Leap's approach doesn't disrupt the way you normally see things.
There does seem to be one drawback currently and that is the fact that the glasses are wired to a square device. Time will tell if it's part of the final design.
Microsoft is pursuing similar technology with their HoloLens. This is going to happen folks and another question everyone will need to ask, "are we ready?"
I'll close with one last intriguing thought - what if foldable displays and augmented reality combine into one device?