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Spoiler alert: smartwatches and wearables are the next PCs

The announcement on September 9th of the much anticipated Apple Watch matched all the hype and then some. The complex, elegantly designed wearable device is part smart device, part health fitness monitoring system, and all next generation. Smart watches have had some difficulty in gaining market traction. Many have complained that the devices lack compelling usage; the benefits are relatively minor and they seem merely like smartphones strapped to the wrist. However, based on the response from the crowd at Apple’s rollout, this may be about to change.




For better or worse, the PC has become the indomitable measuring device for epic technological changes over the past 30 years. On through the 80s and 90s, PCs infiltrated homes and businesses and transformed the way we communicated, worked, and shopped. Next came the iPhone and the mobile revolution was on. Declining PC sales and the rise of mobile have led us now to what is commonly termed the post-PC era. But “post” sounds too final; we also like to think analogously and to use terms like “next” or “new.” In the case of mobile devices, we refer to them as the “new” personal computer. In other words, to be sure PCs aren’t disappearing, but rather – according to Moore’s Law – they’re just getting smaller.

Pew Research’s Digital Life in 2025, which was released earlier this year, argued that the future of the internet can be crystallized into 15 “theses”; one of these is that wearable technology and augmented reality will become intrinsic to our lives. The report declares: “Augmented reality and wearable devices will be implemented to monitor and give quick feedback on daily life, especially tied to personal health.”




Augmented reality provides real-world interaction with one’s physical surroundings through “augmented” (or supplemented) computer generated sensory input such as sound, video, and graphics. The most popular expression of all this has been Google Glass, but unfortunately because of a breakdown in marketing, pricing, and design the device hasn’t caught on. However, the idea is there and indicates how seeing the world through multiple information layers has the potential to dramatically transform the way we interact with our surroundings.

The future internet will become harnessed to our bodies and personas in ways that we never imagined. Our eyes, ears, and other senses, as well as our arms and hands, will become extensions of our digital selves. Wearable technology coupled with augmented reality will give us new and exciting ways to access real-time data and interact with our environment.

When coupled with advances in the Internet of Things and eventually – the Internet of Everything – we will soon see a world where every object will seamlessly fit into the digital universe of sensors, data, and machine learning. We would argue that the next major fulcrum point for where this architecture all gets located will be on your person – your wrist, eyes, ears, and arms.

While in its early stages, the biggest application of wearables right now is as health-tracking devices. Fitbit is a popular form of wearable technology that traces one’s daily steps, sleep time, calorie burn, and other health and fitness metrics through a little device that sits on one’s wrist. You can sync the device to your cloud-based dashboard anytime during the day to see instant updates of your fitness and health. In fact, it won’t be long before real-time health tracking can be used to determine health insurance premiums.




We’ll wait and see what the reception is to Apple Watch, but for all intents and purposes it looks likes the wearable technology market has just taken a major turn upward. Microsoft also recently announced that its jumping into the wearable market with a sensor-rich smartwatch that monitors heart rate and will sync with mobile devices. If history is any indicator (and it always is a good one!) we’d expect the incredible shrinking PC trend to continue as it has over the last 35 years – to the point that we’ll soon be carrying the equivalent computing power of a smartphone or tablet on our wrist.

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called virtupresence.com, along with oversight and leadership of startuplabs.co - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.