Albert Einstein once said, “I never think about the future, it comes soon enough.” Here at Wareable, however, we’re quite the opposite.
We’re always on the lookout for the latest trends in smartwatches, health technology and wearable innovations – and, at the end of each year, it’s become a tradition to parcel out our predictions for the coming year.
For the year 2022, then, we saw fit to make 22 predictions about events in the wearable industry. And it’s fair to say our in-house crystal ball lead us to some interesting places.
Given the year is almost out, it’s only right to recap some of the projections that turned out to be accurate, as well as a few of the many, many things that we got wrong about 2022.
Here’s to even more hits and misses in 2023.
Hit: An outdoor Apple Watch
With the Apple Watch Ultra turning out to be one of the great successes of the smartwatch industry this year – picking up Wareable’s award for ‘Smartwatch of the Year’ along the way – it’s easy to forget that this was just a blip on the rumor radar at this time last year.
In fact, right up until the device’s launch in September, there was plenty of debate over whether Apple would debut a ‘Pro’ edition of the Series 8 or an outdoor-focused watch.
However, with an increased emphasis on sports tracking features in previous watchOS versions, we always believed that the company was more likely to spin off the Apple Watch into something more sporty.
“With the likes of Garmin and Polar offering outdoor watches with more smartwatch features, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to us if Apple fancied taking a bite out of some of those outdoor watch sales,” we said.
We’d certainly say Apple began on that path in 2022 – a year that also saw it launch the AirPods Pro 2 and Apple Watch SE 2, which we happened to prophesize, too.
A Meta smartwatch appeared to be a nailed-on launch in 2022, with rumors suggesting that we could have even received two different editions from the company.
Given the company’s push into new and innovative areas with its headsets and the metaverse, we had the Meta debut smartwatch tagged as one of our top predictions.
Ultimately, though, its smartwatch projects became a casualty of the Facebook owner’s November 2022 mass layoffs.
It’s not an area that appears to have any chance of being revived any time soon, though, as we know, things can quickly change. Maybe we’ll see Project Milan rumors fire up again in 2024.
Hit: Blurred wearable form factors
“2022 could be the year that we see the rise of the smartwatch/fitness tracker mash-up. We’re going to need to come up with a better name to describe it, though,” were our words in late 2021 when discussing the potential for a change-up in wearable form factors.
While we had previously seen the odd example from the likes of Samsung and Huawei, it’s fair to say that the smartwatch/fitness tracker hybrid became much more prevalent in 2022.
Whether it was with a curved or flat display, devices like the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro, Oppo Watch 3 and Huawei Band 7 (pictured) continued to challenge the previously defined design conventions of fitness trackers and smartwatches.
And after debuting on more affordable wearables, we may even start to see this design trend flood into more premium devices – possibly the likes of the Fitbit Charge 6 – over the next year.
We still haven’t got a proper name for these devices that blur the lines, though.
Miss: Google returning to AR
Off the back of job listings and industry leaks emerging in 2021, we believed 2022 would represent the time for Google to re-enter the world of mainstream AR.
Discounting the tease of some real-time language translation glasses at Google I/O in May shown above, however, we were way off with this one.
While rumors continue to suggest that Google is working on an operating system, and has begun to ramp up production on something known as ‘Project Iris’, we’re still at least a couple of years from this becoming a reality, it seems.
We’re expecting more information to emerge on this over the coming year, but we certainly jumped the gun on the timing of this potential announcement.
Hit: Google Pixel Watch
While our radar for Google’s AR announcements may need tinkering, we did at least see our prediction of the Google Pixel Watch launch come to life.
It’s true that rumors of the smartwatch picked up steam by the end of 2021, but anybody who has been following the story of the Pixel Watch over the last five years knows that this was never a sure thing.
Predictions over the integration with Fitbit were borne out, too, and the debut Pixel Watch joined the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series in presenting a much-improved, refreshed look to Wear OS.
There’s plenty for Google to work on for the second-gen model, and we’ve already dreamt up many of the features we want from the Pixel Watch 2 in 2023.
Miss: Mainstream blood pressure tracking
Giddy from the potential we witnessed in the Huawei Watch D and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 in 2021, we believed that 2022 would represent the year where blood pressure monitoring would become a staple health tracking feature.
Aside from Samsung continuing to offer the feature on its latest Galaxy Watch models, however, we’ve not really seen the development we’d anticipated here.
Apple instead chose to make the temperature sensor its big health addition in the Series 8, while Google shied away from offering anything related to blood pressure in its new releases, the Pixel Watch, Fitbit Sense 2 and Fitbit Versa 4.
Even brands such as Oppo and Xiaomi didn’t attempt to touch the feature.
Naturally, we still expect blood pressure tracking to become a feature of upcoming smartwatches and trackers over the coming years, but this appears to be happening much more gradually than we first anticipated.