Still new to consumers and tech aficionados alike, wearable tech has already been making waves. This last spring Apple took its first crack at the tech with the first generation Apple Watch. They entered a market for wrist wearables where many early adopters have already been swayed by brands like Fitbit. What is it about these sorts of wearable devices that have peaked peoples' interest? To get an idea we spoke with two RIT students who have already bought in.
Jon Nguyen, a senior Electrical Engineering major and a former intern at Apple, spoke about his experience thus far with the Apple Watch. Initially not thinking he would use it as much as he has, Nguyen described how it's features — like being able to quickly glance at one's calendar, texts and emails — ended up being very convenient for him.
"I ended up using it a lot for working out [using the heart rate monitor], meeting management from the calendar glance on the modular clock face setting and sending quick texts out for a quick phone call," Nguyen said.
He also noted, as Apple has said, that with the release of the Watch OS2 more [native] third party apps are coming later this year, Facebook Messenger having recently arrived. Another one of the watch's big features, Apple Pay, is steadily becoming a more desirable convenience as more businesses begin to accept it; Starbucks is among those who are next. It has yet to spread to many places in the Rochester area, but, since last October, Wegmans has adopted the technology and it has subsequently carried over to the Apple Watch as well.
Nguyen added that while wearables may still be in their "infant stage of development," he enjoys the Apple Watch overall. As sites like The Verge have noted, there lies a lot of promise in the platform, but the Apple Watch is still very much a first generation product. Perhaps too pricey or not quite innovative enough for some, the tech may eventually win people over.
Apple is not the only choice when it comes to wearable wrist tech. BreAnna Bugbee is a second year Advertising and Public Relations major and an owner of the Fitbit Flex. She praised its functionality as an alarm and as a tool for keeping a daily calorie count. Fitbit's various bands provide users the means to track various aspects of their personal health and fitness and analyze it within their app. Accessible across multiple models, their app and software is often lauded for being comprehensive, yet still easy to use.
Most Fitbits are not designed to have the same broad functionality as something like the Apple Watch, as their specialization is fitness and health. While users like Bugbee certainly take note of its utility, lack of versatility does limit the potential appeal.
"I just don't use it and I don't think I will use anything like it in the future, it's a cool device, but it's nothing that I really needed or use anymore," Bugbee said. She recommended it only to people who would want to utilize it's health and workout features.