After Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) unveiled the first Android Wear smartwatches and the public awaits the announcement of Apple’s rumored iWatch, it’s becoming clearer that wearables will be the next competitive market, and the next stage for competing product philosophies to play out. TechCrunch’s Kyle Russell writes that “compromise will shape the wearables market,” a smart way to say that smartwatches and other wearables can’t just be scaled-down versions of existing product forms, but will have to either offer a unified or diversified approach to functionality.
Giving an example of a smart form of compromise, Russell explains that Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) strategy with its product lineup is an example of making “the right compromises” for each product’s form. The divergence between iOS and OS X came about because devices running iOS are optimized for touch, while devices running OS X are meant to be used with a keyboard and a mouse. The choice to diversify those experiences was a good one, as each product is optimized for the functions it’s intended to fulfill.
Windows 8, by contrast, was designed as a universal operating system with no compromises. Across tablets, laptops, and desktops, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) wanted to provide the same, unified user experience and the same interface. Windows 8 was designed to accommodate a keyboard, a mouse, touch, or a stylus to scale from pocket-sized devices to much larger ones. But the approach wasn’t as attractive to consumers as Microsoft had hoped. In the debate — to compromise or not to compromise — Apple’s philosophy so far seems to have yielded greater success, with the iPad outselling competitors running Windows 8 to the point that Microsoft claimed that the Surface 3 tablet was actually competing with the Macbook Air.