Watch out. A new type of technology is on the rise.
Smart watches have been around for a while, becoming more and more complex throughout the years, as most technology does. Dozen of these wearable computers are available from different companies, all providing a variety of interchangeable elements to become a more personal device in comparison to a cell phone or laptop. The recent announcement of the new Apple Watch has fired up the market yet again, causing questions and competitions to rise. Is it actually useful? What does a smartwatch actually do?
The majority of smart watches are to accompany a phone and made simply to save time by allowing one to check incoming messages, notifications and change music with just the flick of a wrist. Jonathan Mapilisan owns a Pebble watch and describes the conveniences he experiences.
“A song’s playing in my car: I can just tap my wrist instead of looking down at my phone,”Mapilisan said. “I’m at work and my phone vibrates but I check it: one glance at my wrist and I’m able to tell how urgent it is and that honestly helps me focus on my job better than I ever expected to.”
Some smart watches have been dubbed as sport watches, functioning mainly to regulate heart rate, measure distance and assist with keeping fit. They can be personalized to a great extent by downloading apps from app stores existing specifically for the watches. Pebble, a popular smartwatch, has an app store with more than 4,200 apps.
Despite all the pros to having a smart watch, there are of course cons. The cost of a smartwatch could play a major factor limiting the purchase of smart watches. The cheapest smartphones can range from $100-$200. The Sony Smartwatch 2 SW2 is sold at a market value of $199.99 and is able to make or receive calls and check messages or notifications. Although many smartwatches are sold at a reasonable price, there are some that exceed that level. Apple recently announced that its 18-karat gold watches are starting at a whopping $17,000.
Being too connected can sometimes even serve as a con, according to Mapilisan.
“It can be kind of irritating being notified on your watch while you are actually on your phone,”Mapilisan said.
Smart watches also bring up the problem of being an even greater distraction than a smartphone especially while driving. A recent study conducted by the United Kingdom’s Transport Research Laboratory showed that a driver who viewed a message on a smart watch reacted at least a second slower than those distracted by a smartphone.
While smart watches are without a doubt useful, they are not exactly necessary.