W|W: The Wearable Weekly – The iPhone Killer, FDA’s “light touch” & Wearable Fools’ Day

Welcome to The Wearable Weekly, your trusted guide to all things wearable tech. If you only have time to read one thing about wearables this week, this is it.

Industry Highlights

Apple developed the Apple Watch because the iPhone is ruining your life. Wired’s David Pierce published an in-depth report on Apple’s “raison d’être” for the Apple Watch, among them “to free people from their phones.” It’s a must read.

Here come the Apple Watch apps! Last week we saw the first round of Apple Watch apps hit the iTunes store from select early partners. This week Apple opened up WatchKit app submissions to all developers in prep for the release of its wearable April 24.

FDA is taking a very light, almost hands-off approach, to most wearable health apps according to a report from Bloomberg. The report goes on to question the FDA’s resources, staff, and agility to keep up with the changing face of digital health.

True to form, the internet was rampant with fake wearables for April Fools day. Some of the most memorable wearable gotchas included Pawculus Rift (VR for dogs), Tesla’s “Big Ben” Apple Watch killer and Tilt’s VR solution to relive college, UniVRsity. Most failed attempt goes to Miz Mooz’s lame selfie shoes.

Statistics & Forecasts

Total wearable device shipments will total 45.7 million 2015, up from 19.6 million in 2014. By 2019, total shipment volumes are forecast to reach 126.1 million units, resulting in a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45.1%. (IDC)

Smart wearables (wearables that can run 3rd party applications e.g. Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches) will reach 25.7 million units in 2015, up a whopping 510.9% from the 4.2 million units shipped in 2014. (IDC)

Apple Watch sales to hit $1 million in first week, could sell 300,000 in first 24 hours according to Piper Jaffray. (CNET)

According to a new Juniper Research report, Augmented Reality apps in the mobile games market will generate 420 million downloads annually by 2019, up from 30 million in 2014 – mainly driven by the emergence of smart glasses. (Fierce Wireless)

Device Announcements

HIRIS | gesture-control device | September 2015 (ZDNET)

Funding, Crowdfunding and M&A

Pebble Time completed its Kickstarter campaign, raising 20,338,721from 78,470 backers – making it the most funded Kickstarter campaign ever. (MobileSyrup)

Major Milestones

Sony SmartEyeglass AR smart glasses are now available for sale in 10 countries for $840 (TNW)

Recon Instruments integrating its Jet smart glasses with SAP AR Mobile Apps (MarketWatch)

Pristine partners with Epson American to bring Moverio smart glasses to field services (Business Wire)

Valve and HTC are giving away a limited number of Vive VR headsets to developers for free (Ars Technica)

VR Headset for LG G3 now available in US with Google Cardboard (LG)

Google granted patent for glucose-tracking smart contact lenses (MobileSyrup)

ASUS announced its ZenWatch will be available in Australia in April (Mashable)

Alcatel OneTouch Watch available for pre-order (MobileSyrup)

China’s Alibaba finance arm partners with Xiaomi for wearable payments solution (Reuters)

The New York Times rolls out one-sentence stories on the Apple Watch (NY Times)

Viber updates its app with Android Wear support (NDTV)


Samsung patent suggests that it might be adding biosignal authentication to its smartwatch (TechTimes)

Google Glass patent suggests the smart glasses may one day help you learn how to dance (BGR)

Apple Watch workout app may adjust to users’ gait for more accurate results (Apple Insider)

This weekly column is originally posted every week on our sister site, BetaKit.