Did you presume that smartwatches were just a fad of 2015, set for inevitable decline in 2016? Not a bit of it - all of the evidence indicates that wearable technology is firmly here to stay, and indeed will continue to evolve in new and exciting ways throughout the coming two years.
Here are 10 developments that our experts here at Makersify expect to affect wearable technology during this year and into 2017.
- Apple won't dominate the show
While the Cupertino giant has certainly made a splash in the wearables sector with its simply-titled Watch, there's also evidence that Fitbit and Android watches are putting up a good fight. Whatever Apple does in wearable tech in the years to come, we doubt it'll be a straight re-run of the iPhone and iPad stories of mammoth market share over the rest.
- Traditional watch makers will have to adapt
It seems that the more traditional watch manufacturers have been caught napping a little by the rise of wearable tech, but we doubt that will last for long. Indeed, we already saw the emergence in 2015 of 'connected timepieces' that largely resemble time-honoured watches, while incorporating certain 'smart' elements, such as the ability to track steps and receive smartphone notifications.
- Wearables will continue increasing in popularity
This is not a product category set for immediate decline, at least according to eMarketer, the research firm that expects 81.7 million US adults to be using wearables by 2018 - compared to the 39.5 million owners of such devices in 2015.
- Hackers will begin to close in
Here's a negative prediction - with the booming numbers of wearables on people's wrists in 2016 and the year after, their security will become a much greater issue. With smartwatches already frequently containing great amounts of their wearers' personal information, heightened hacker interest in their contents only seems inevitable.
- Wearable fitness will truly take off
Health and fitness apps and other 'smart' technologies have long been an obsession for tech writers, but in 2016 and 2017, they look set to finally gain big traction among the wider populace, thanks in no small part to the continued market dominance of Fitbit's activity trackers.
- Smartwatches will become less dependent on smartphones
This is an obvious tip - changes have already been made to the way watchOS apps work to lessen their previous reliance on a nearby iPhone, and we can only see this trend gathering pace through 2017, with all manner of weird and wonderful consequences.
- We'll get 'smart' clothing, not just watches
Wearable tech will live up to its name to an even greater extent with the emergence of 'smart' clothing, as has already reached the marketplace courtesy of such brands as Hexoskin, Sensoria and OMsignal. 2016 has probably come too early for connected gym shorts to become a widespread sight, but they could yet be 'must haves' in 2017.
- Niches will emerge in the market
2016 and 2017 will be the years when we increasingly realise that we don't want a 'one size fits all' smartwatch - why would we, when we could have one specifically geared to the needs of our age, gender and/or lifestyle? Already, for example, the Neatamo June bracelet is helping to protect women from the damaging effects of UV sun exposure.
- There will be more fashion partnerships
Smartwatches look set to really play up their catwalk credentials over the coming year or so. How else can you explain such developments as Tommy Hilfiger creating an express line especially for Apple Watch owners, using the timepiece's technology to enable such lucky individuals to enter its shows with a simple swipe of their wrist?
10. Future wearables won't be as wearable
The wearable may prove to be something of a transitional product category, at least if the suggestions that future wearables will become more integrated with and implanted into the human body are anything to go by. It's a seemingly logical development that we reckon we will see the first serious hints of in 2017.
Remember that it's not just the big name technology companies that will determine the future of wearables - it could be you, too!
Here at Makersify, we offer a formidable range of gadgets and gizmos that may just be the perfect starting point for your own future in wearables development, so don't be afraid to browse our comprehensive online store for the latest items we have in stock.