The Next Connected Watch Innovations, Revealed

The connected watch has been a successful product category over the last 3 years. According to market researcher Canalys, Apple alone shipped 18 million watches during calendar year 2017, representing unit shipment growth of "more than 54%" compared to what Apple shipped in the prior year”. This performance led Canalys Senior Analyst Jason Low to declare that "Connected watches are winning the wearables game."

Right now, connected watch growth likely benefits significantly from first-time buyers of the wearable devices; there's a huge iPhone and Android installed base out there and connected watch penetration within that installed base is still likely far from saturation. For companies to drive increased watch penetration, and to try to stoke additional demand among current watch owners, the tech titans will need to continue to deliver solid feature and capability innovations at a regular clip.

Thanks to a new report from Fast Company, which has previously published accurate details about upcoming connected products, we now have some idea of what the connected watch innovation pipeline could look like.

Solid-state innovations

Fast Company reports, citing a "source with direct knowledge of connected watch plans," that future connected watches may come with "solid state buttons that don't move up and down but rather sense the touch of a finger."

This move, Fast Company says, will "make the connected watch more water resistant because the opening needed for a physical button is eliminated." You might recall that Apple touted increased water resistance as a key selling point for its current Series 3, so it's not surprising that connected watch makers are looking for ways to further enhance the water resistance of future Watch models. In addition to improving water resistance, Fast Company's source claimed that the move to solid-state buttons will "take up less space in the design, freeing up room for a bigger battery." One of the biggest limitations of many connected watches is battery life. For example, according to CNET's Scott Stein, the Apple Watch Series 3 sees a significant battery life reduction "when making calls or during GPS workouts." Since both of those use cases are important use cases for a connected watch, it's little wonder that engineering teams want to do what they can to boost battery life. A bigger battery is certainly one way to do that.

The future lacks buttons

Although the next connected watches may move to solid-state buttons, that's not the end of the line for connected watch innovation. Fast Company says that industrial design teams "have been working toward a future Watch that has no buttons at all." How would that work? Well, according to the report, "specific areas on the side of the device would respond to finger touches." This sounds very futuristic and, quite frankly, really cool, so it looks like connected watch makers have a really interesting vision for the future of watch user interactions.

Source: Adapté d’après The Motley Fool

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