The ever-more-discreet hearing aid, and now its expansion to Bluetooth accessory, is precisely the sort of "blending into the background" that I am talking about. But people have their own ideas about what constitutes good fashion, and electronics designers have to respect that taste to reach a wide audience. The ear is a good place for accessories (already!), but the electronics have to fit the aesthetic, not the other way around (IMHO).
Similarly, everyone is accustomed to people wearing eyeglasses, and when the heads-up display can be incorporated into these, regardless of style, it will be widely accepted (privacy concerns to be addressed!). Until then I predict that Google Glass wearers will be confined to those with an occupational need (just like other head-mounted cameras) and the cyborgs. (There was a student at MIT, who I believe actually advised Google, who went around Cambridge for months with only a camera and heads-up display as his visual contact with the world. This is not likely to go mainstream!)
@Jayna: ...most people aren't going to start looking like cyborgs...
Maybe not most ... but there are some folks who would quite enjoy the "cyborg look" -- it might be a fashion statement in the not-so-distant future -- look at al lthe folks who happily strollaround with Star Trek-esque Bluetooth ear pieces
As an aside, my mother-in-law has long hair -- I didn't realize she had one of of those ear pieces in; also that her phone was set to auto-answer. We were walking around a supermarket when she suddenly started carrying on an apparently one-sided conversation accompanied by a wavinh of the hands. I thought she'd gone insane... :-)
I am currently 41, the first wearables that I saw were in the episodes of StartTrek ( I was about 10). I was amazed at how they could touch the Enterprise symbol on their clothes and talk to the Enterprise. Maybe, that is the technology we are seeking/w wearables.
Excellent observation -- "people aren't going to start looking like cyborgs." Perhaps the breakthrough that unleashes the iPhone-of-wearables will come when the visionaries of the electronics industry team up with the visionaries of the fashion industry.
As a process technologist I am not going to design "it", but I do think something is missing, and you capture it with the "clunky" note: today's "wearables" are not. I have been saying in many talks that it seemed to me that wearable electronics would have to blend into the background of what we already wear: most people aren't going to start looking like cyborgs. People from the fashion world tell me this is right. So whatever the products and their apps might be, they have to be physically very different from today's.
I think you are right Rick...we need something different than iPhone as a wearble device...Bluetooth to your smart phone? I doubt it, that would be merely physical extension of your smart phone...it needs to be autonomous, perhaps connecting to IoT network to work with trillions of sensors around us (that will get deployed)...perhaps we are just too early for that...one thing is certain in my mind, it won't be Apple, the most valuable brand in the world (which just made me mad with teeneager like look of Ios7 on my phone, why did I upgrade?!?) but a bunch of new guys thinking differently...or should I say thinking different