In a meeting with our digital heads last week speculation was rife on this issue. It boils down I think ultimately to functionality, though fashion clearly has a role in establishing who wins this next zeitgeist battle.
As far as Google Glasses are concerned the media is torn between fear of a loss of privacy and excitement about the possibilities of augmented reality. The first images are circulating from users tests (though the pictures are underwhelming so far). The first user guide shows how to operate the head set, which features a clock, the weather, a camera, video calls, maps and Google Translate. You can see the possibilities.
Much of the writing online about Apple’s iWatch is rumour so far. Wall Street is said to be questioning whether CEO Tim Cook can match Steve Jobs’s ability to “think different”. But a computer on the wrist. Sounds cooler than wearing specs.
There will be challenges for brands from computers on wrists or in glasses. Will GG distract from outdoor advertising, or could it enhance it as second screens will enhance the effectiveness of advertising on TV? The role advertising might have in GG is not clear yet, though having a brand that’s strong enough and consistent enough to navigate the challenges will be paramount.
If I look round MediaCom I see more people wearing watches than wear glasses, even though nobody needs a watch to tell the time anymore. So unless Google can quickly come up with the similar but more discreet Google Contact Lenses, Apple might win the fashion war.
Fashion perhaps but also nostalgia. The GG vs iWatch adoption curve might have a lot to do with your childhood TV viewing affinities. GG vs iWatch = Joe Ninety vs Captain Kirk. Here’s hoping neither is the new ponytail.