With all of the hype surrounding the Apple Watch, I decided to go through my entire “graveyard” (or more appropriately, my personal “boulevard of broken dreams” given the promise each had) of wearables devices, from smart watches, fitness watches, activity bands, sleep trackers, etc. The tally was over 15 (the picture here only notes the smart/fitness watches & activity bands)! However, I must begin by saying that I’m a total wearables geek and will jump to get the newest gadget that helps me with fitness, activity, or sleep.

Why I’ve been disappointed to date:
  1. Klugey hardware/software design.  At the core, my biggest disappointment to date has been the interfaces – very klugey, inefficient, and sometimes, ineffective.
  2. Look & feel.  Similar to the design is the look & feel – after a few weeks (or even a few days), I stopped wearing them – just didn’t like the look.  This speaks to the importance of style in any wearable that wants to break out.
  3. Use case mismatch.  Initially, I thought I’d love having applications on top of my smart watch or wearable (get messages, email notifications, music control, etc), but at the end of the day, the main reasons I wear them is (1) activity/fitness tracking; (2) sleep tracking; and (3) style.  I’m sure I will revise this thinking once Apple enters the fray!

So, after trying many devices over the past 3-5 years, I’ve locked in on the Jawbone UP24, which has effectively become my personal “system of record” for health.  I think the product looks great, but more importantly, it does a few things really well – it tracks my activity, tracks my sleep, and integrates with a host of mobile health & fitness apps.

The Data.

I’ve been continuously using the UP24 for >2 years, and i’m really embracing what i think the killer potential is for wearables:  the data.  The amount of data between the device & app ecosystem to give me information about my activities is pretty amazing.  I think this trend will only continue, with platforms vying to be the masters of the data (e.g. the system of record).  To give you an example of this, the UP24 has helped me manage my sleep (an issue i’ve had for >25yrs) basically by letting me know that, for me, the total sleep is not as effective as the deep sleep.  i’ve had nights with 2hrs deep sleep/6 hrs total sleep that have been more restful than 1hr deep sleep/7 hrs total sleep.

Apple Watch. 

No discussion on wearables can be complete without mentioning the Apple Watch – the past decade has trained us to become blown away with each category defining product release from Apple, and the Apple Watch is only the latest incarnation of that trend.  I will certainly be part of the masses jumping in here and I don’t doubt that my use cases for a smart watch will explode with the Apple Watch.  My only question is the stickiness – the only reason I change iPhones or iPads is when there is a new release (meaning I cannibalize vs churn away from Apple).  Will the Apple Watch have the same product stickiness?  I can’t wait to find out!