I’ve been a Google-glass wearing Glasshole for about ten months now, and I’ve seen and heard and read every reaction to the product. The biggest reason as to why people want it or don’t want it is identity.
Glass is a dorky, clunky looking piece of advanced technology. It looks cyborgish. For those whose personal identities are associated with technology -- i.e. geeks like me -- Glass is a desirable thing to wear. For those whose personal identities are associated with looking good, or looking natural, or looking traditional or looking friendly or any number of other self-identities, Google Glass is an abomination.
The point is that the desirability of Google Glass is more strongly associated with the psychology of fashion, rather than utility.
And so it is with all wearable computing devices. Just look at the press around all the smartwatches that have been thus far shipped, proposed or rumored. Nearly all the conversation is about fashion. The Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch is one of the most popular designs so far. Why? Because it’s round, and looks like a traditional and beautiful watch more than a little computer lashed to a wrist.
But all bets are off until the rumored Apple iWatch comes out. The iWatch is expected to dominate the market not because anyone expects more powerful features, but because Apple enjoys a reputation as a company that understands elegance, design and fashion. In fact, Apple even went so far as to hire Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve back in July.
The reality is that wearable computing is fashion, and fashion is becoming computerized.
It’s time for the technology-loving world and the fashion-loving world to come to grips with the coming merger of our two worlds. From this point forward, there is no separating wearable computing from fashion.
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