Column: Is Apple Watch the new iPhone?

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Commentary by Eric Anderson

For the first time in five years, I am not upgrading to the new iPhone. I will be keeping my iPhone X, and I do not regret the decision.

The feature differences on the upgrade are not worth the price upgrade. The processor, the cameras and screen size are nearly identical. Feature improvements versus time has nearly plateaued, and it seems as if 2018 is marking the beginning of the end of smartphone technology. So, what’s next for consumers?

Wearable technology is just beginning to take off, with nearly 25 percent growth predicted by 2022. Fitbit, Apple Watch and AirPods offer users the ability to not only track steps but also monitor heart rate, play music and call for help in case of a fall. The health implications of these technologies are in their infancy, and the adolescent years will bring smiles to the lives of consumers.

Fitbit has a suite of products and services that do more than just count steps. The Fitbit Charge 3 tracks sleep, provides smartphone notifications (calls and emails), monitors heart rate during exercise and has a seven-day battery life. There is even an app that allows women to track their periods and estimate ovulation.

During its last keynote, Apple announced its most advanced watch ever. It has become more like a computer that happens to tell time. The newer, larger interface puts the calendar, activity tracker, timer and weather on a larger screen. The Apple Watch Series 4 will be able to generate an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. Users can place phone calls without a phone using the GPS Plus Cellular version. Future versions may pair with HomeKit to control devices through Siri or monitor glucose for diabetics. The Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and HealthKit implications are growing for Apple.

AirPods are the perfect complement to the mobile devices, both iOS and Android. More than just Bluetooth headphones, these wearables easily connect to laptops and other mobile devices. Originally teased for their look, they immediately took off and Apple couldn’t  keep enough in stores. Next generation models are expect to be moisture- and water-resistant, enhance connectivity, offer better fitness tracking and ambient sound elimination. Apple even hinted at designing a wireless charging case.

Google Glass failed miserably because of privacy concerns and a high price tag. Future devices will pivot from fitness tracking to health monitoring and chronic disease management via bra implants, headbands and more. Your doctor may even prescribe an Apple Watch whose cost is covered by insurance.

Eric Anderson is the Chief Geek and Training Director for Scientifically Speaking, where he makes technology easy to use personally and professionally. He is a native of Carmel, where he lives with his wife and three daughters.




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