NY Times writer Farhad Manjoo had another excellent column this morning “The Gadget Apocalypse Is Upon Us”.
I agree with the idea that gadgets are losing the battle to software. Consumer behavior plays a critical role in determining the success of gadgets not to mention mobile applications. As a Fitbit user over the past twelve months, I can tell you from personal experience that my daily activity behaviors have changed. This has happened because I’ve become keenly aware of my day-to-day activity. Or sometimes lack thereof.
As a naturally competitive person I am competing most days to – outdo myself. I think about walking anywhere I can, taking stairs instead of elevators when possible, and I think more about the calories I am (continually) consuming, and even have started feeling less energy on days that I don’t move around as much. With more intimate knowledge behaviors have more opportunity to be changed.
I still feel that the ultimate health app is something that goes behind your ear (a tab or patch, not noticeable sort of like a tiny hearing aid) that monitors your health 24/7. Sleep, steps, vital signs etc. Having a fitness monitor that people take on and off (like a watch or Fitbit One in my case), is counterproductive to the mission of truly monitoring one’s health.
Semantically the word gadget suggest something fun yet inconsequential. A 24/7 health-monitoring device may look a little like a gadget but provides resounding utility. Are you worried about having your sensitive personal health data hosted on an app and in the cloud? I have my concerns but not enough to offset what I feel will be the benefits of having a chance to review and better understand my own personal health baselines and trends. I suspect my doctor would feel similarly.
The 1970’s began a time when gadgets became both fun and sometimes useful. As Mr. Manjoo writes, the iPhone changed everything and now functional mobile apps are where innovation is flying. But the combination of useful hardware (NOT gadgets!) and application based data collection point to the ways consumers will behave in the future.
Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)