Speaker 1: It's been a big couple of years for wearables. Not only are they becoming more detached from the phone, thanks to things like cellular connectivity, but they're also trying to be your ultimate health and fitness companion tracking things from your sleep to your heart health and even your temperature. So where to next To help us get a better idea of what's coming next, both on and off the wrist. I am joined thanks to [00:00:30] the magic everyth internet by CNET Scott Stein, Scott. It's so great to see you. Hopefully next year will be able to do this in
Speaker 2: Person. Yeah. Hopefully I, I, I, I miss seeing real people.
Speaker 1: I agree. Well, let's talk all things wearables. I wanna start with the current set of affairs, where OS, where are we right now? Because this was the big year of Samsung and Google rebooting the platform to really take on the apple watch. It's good. But I feel like it still needs quite a bit of work to be a really worthy competitor. And [00:01:00] what do you think that needs to happen in 2022?
Speaker 2: Yeah. Where is where OS is the, is the big question and this year was kind of supposed to be the year that the reinvention happened and it felt really just like one shoe dropping. Um, the galaxy watch four, I mean, Samsung was always had really good watch hardware. The shift to where west didn't feel as dramatic as you would've expected in a lot of ways. It was a little more interface, tweaks and app compatibility. Uh, a lot of the stuff with the galaxy [00:01:30] watch force still flows through Samsung health and assumes that you have a Samsung phone. And that's, what's a little weird because the rest of the wear west future involves a lot more than that. And Google seems like they're picking next year as kind of the larger debut of the platform. It's going to be rolling out to other watches, including fossil watches next year, and rumors keep building of some sort of Google made watch. Now, in [00:02:00] some sense, people are thinking pixel watch. In another sense, a I think it's perfectly clear. Fitbit has already said that they are developing a wears watch and Fitbit is owned by Google. So, you know, to me, that's the one
Speaker 1: Let's switch to talk about apple and specifically the apple watch now. So when the series seven came out in 2021, I think a lot of people saw it as a fairly iterative update. You know, no one's hating about having a larger screen, of course, but we didn't see any new flashy sensors. We didn't see any improvements [00:02:30] to battery life. What do you think is Apple's next big move for the series eight and onwards?
Speaker 2: The bigger screen was nice, but the series seven really was a very iterative upgrade. And that's been the case with apple watches. Recently, the past couple of has been really iterative little things. It suggests that the whole landscape is kind of done and finished, but that's not the case with watches. I think there's a lot more forward progress, definitely sensors and health, like you mentioned, but, uh, let's just start with sleep tracking. First [00:03:00] of all, battery life, which you, you need for sleep tracking. Apple's battery life has hung at the same day and a half zone forever. Figure that out, figure out how to sleep with this thing and wear it for longer because that unlocks sleep tracking. And while it's true, that sleep tracking on other devices does not approach what you do for a sleep study. Like I, I have a sleep app, so I, I know what a sleep study is.
Speaker 2: They're getting closer. And I do think that sleep stages and, [00:03:30] you know, all that stuff, E even snor detection stuff to other companies like fit in aura or already doing giving sleep scores, none of that's on the apple watch, uh, natively. And then, uh, additionally, I would say all that stuff we look at with like readiness scores, kind of snapshot of your wellness that fit it and aura are doing already. Uh, I really want that in addition to all the fitness stuff that apple has, cuz I, I don't think there's any awareness holistically of what I'm doing when [00:04:00] I wake up and I wanna see a lot more of that. And then sensor wise, you know, sure. There's blood pressure, blood glucose that we talk about. I don't know if the sensor technology is fully there, blood pressure stuff that I've heard about that runs through wrist, you know, is not the same as a cuff. I'd love to see that be there cuz I have high blood pressure, but I, I really think the, the sleep tracking in the battery life would be the most obvious ones. And then, you know what? I just looked at my watch cuz I'm, I'm actually using this to mirror what my phone is doing and would stop recording. So we [00:04:30] had to do a reshoot on this and it's still that relationship between phone and watch is still buggy. And I want that to feel much more fluid. The other
Speaker 1: Aspect of apples system that I think a lot of people don't necessarily equate with wearables, but I think will potentially be important going forward are pods. And we saw the airports third generation, they came out with this kind of sensor that flew a little bit under the radar. I think it was a skin detection sensor. And at the moment it's only used for things [00:05:00] like sensing that's in your ear. So say for example, if they're resting on a table, they're not gonna keep playing music, but the fitness side and the health monitoring side of in ear detection devices is actually really interesting. What do you think is kind of gonna be coming next maybe from airports pro two or any other kind of pods line, um, down the track from apple to kind of bring this whole system together?
Speaker 2: Yeah, it's interesting. Because a couple years ago we had actually seen some, some earbuds that did this. [00:05:30] Samsung had heart rate sensing earbuds, and there were a couple of other companies doing things like that and then it kind of stopped. But at the same time, there are companies making those types of sensors that say that blood flow and data coming through your ear is more reliable and it's richer than what's on your wrist. So fail and sell, which is a, a company that makes, um, optical heart rate sensing equipment. Uh, talk to me at CES, the last one I was at and they [00:06:00] said that they were pursuing blood pressure sensing in ear and that it didn't work as well on wrist. So it made me think about, would there be all sorts of fitness sensing technology that could fit in your ear now that Apple's making AirPods pro two supposedly next year, maybe that's the chance for that.
Speaker 2: And it seems like it would make sense as some sort of a way to maybe get to censor tech that wouldn't be available on the watch. But it's hard to read Apple's mind on that. If that's the case, then yes, [00:06:30] we could see something like that. And would it be like an alternative to the apple watch or would it help gain extra information? Uh, that the other one didn't have, would that make sense as a triangulation? I guess we'll have to see, uh, of course then the moment you expect some sort of tech like that from apple, it then turns out that when it arrives, it doesn't have that. So there's also that part too.
Speaker 1: The other big trend that we saw in 2021 and that I think is only gonna keep in is subscription based services [00:07:00] for your wearable device. You know, we've got the ordering, we've got Fitbit moving to Fitbit premium as a model to kind of unlock extra insights. There's Amazon doing the same thing. Even apple kind of does it with fitness. Plus even though it's not about stats, it's more about workouts and me, what's the appetite for subscription based services. Is this a sustainable model? And, and what are your thoughts on it?
Speaker 2: I'm getting pretty exhausted by subscription services. And I think we were talking about this, [00:07:30] uh, I think there are only so many subscriptions that people can afford and I'm already at my breaking point, uh, with all the video and games and other things is that I've got it. It all depends if people perceive subscriptions, I think as replacing your gym or maybe being something that could be bundled, uh, you know, as something that becomes part of the natural wearable experience, I find it harder to accept because subscriptions don't replace the cost of the wearable right now. They, they haven't see seem to really be subsidizing [00:08:00] it so much as they've been just an additional thing that you're paying. That's the case with Fitbit. Uh, that's the case with apple fitness plus, uh, some companies like URA, which makes this ring that you and I have worn, um, which I really like has moved to a subscription model because they feel that it's subsidizing more content development and, and more health features, but you still have to buy the ring. And you know, you're not gonna want too many of those at the same time. Look at what Amazon's doing with halo, where it's all subscription. I think you have [00:08:30] a lot of big players in the market that are really doing that and building more workout content. And I think that trend's definitely gonna continue into 2022. I just don't know how many different subscriptions this landscape is going to sustain, especially when you have subscriptions from workout equipment too. What
Speaker 1: Do you think is next for the frontier of wearables? I mean, obviously this might be a little bit further flung than say next year, but is AR VR and all of the other peripherals that companies are working on, you know, Meads got this kind of power glove [00:09:00] esque device, um, that uses haptics. We've seen apple experiment with, um, not necessarily touching a screen, but detecting muscle movement with assistive touch. What other realms are we gonna be going into and, and see previews of next year? Do you think?
Speaker 2: Yeah, I think beyond the idea of the watches, we think we know it, it gets really interesting when you start adding stuff like VR and AR. Now I don't think that the haptic club stuff is gonna be happening anytime soon. And meta was talking about how that's still [00:09:30] years away from, from being a possibility. But, uh, but the other technology that meta looking at, which is neural input sensing, that sounds like it's a lot closer to happening at least in the, in the next couple of years. And that's where it senses, uh, motor neuron input through a sensor in, in what would be a, a band like a watch band. I saw another company doing that type of tech, uh, about a year ago or two years ago now. Um, also kind of sense finger movements and allow you to do things Apple's experimenting [00:10:00] with that now, like you said, with assistive touch without even having that sensor.
Speaker 2: And I think that once headset enter the picture, how do you control things? Meta is talking about some sort of a wristband being the controller for future smart law glasses. And that suggests that the watch is in a really prime position for that for apple two or for Samsung or for any company, you know, Google that wants to reenter this space. And it couldn't redefine what the smart watch is. I don't know if we're gonna see that [00:10:30] fully unfold in 2022, but there is one part that I think we could see crossover art watches for VR fitness are you may start seeing a lot more because, um, meta already has in, in, in, in Oculus quest, there's a workout app that could use the apple watch to sense heart rate data, to track stuff. And they just acquired that company. Now meta is supposed to be making its own watch and we could see that announced next year. It might just be like a Fitbit that gets fitness data, but for the purpose [00:11:00] of maybe pairing and connecting into some fitness VR ecosystem that you may not want to be part of, but they're gonna talk about, uh, that that could also mirror what other companies start doing
Speaker 1: Well, when the watch can start giving me real time feedback on my full form, say my running form or, you know, even weight lifting. I I'm actually all there for that. I don't need a smart mirror for that. Cause I don't wanna see myself doing anything wrong. I want something just to just gently guide me [00:11:30] and just like nudge me in the right direction cuz uh, no one needs to see that. Just, just a little bit of extra help. So I, I like this idea. I like where you're going with it. Thanks again, Scott. And we'll do this in person next year. Fingers, Chris.