Wareable 50, one year on: How did we do with our wearable tech predictions?

Here's what we got right and wrong about the big stories in 2018
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At the end of 2017, we published our annual Wareable 50 predictions - a forecast of what we thought would set the wearable tech world alight in 2018.

Now, one year on, and ahead of next month's 2019 predictions, we're here to check back and see how right, wrong or downright loony our past selves were being when we compiled the list. Overall, we'd probably give ourselves a solid B+.

Below, we've broken down our top 10 predictions into the hits and misses, while also recognizing the predictions that, despite getting close, didn't quite make it to the 'Nailed it' list.

Want to have your say on what happened with wearables in 2018? Let us know in the comments section below.

Nailed it

Serious health tracking (#2)

Wareable 50, one year on: How did we do with our wearable tech predictions?

We said serious health tracking was going to be big in 2018, and we think it's safe to say that we were on the money with this one. Led by Apple and the introduction of an electric heart sensor (able to provide electrocardiogram readings) on its Watch Series 4, we also saw the likes of Fitbit start putting its SpO2 sensor packed into its smartwatches to use and Garmin partner with the likes of Fitabase and Actigraph.

And it's only the start as far as what our smartwatches, fitness trackers and other wearables will be capable of tracking. We think you're going to be hearing a lot more about tracking sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation in 2019.

Apple Watch Series 4 (#3)

Wareable 50, one year on: How did we do with our wearable tech predictions?

Okay, so it wasn't exactly the most far fetched prediction to make - that there was going to be a new Apple Watch in 2018 - but the company's continued push is arguably the wearable industry's biggest driver. And, hopefully, we're going to be seeing one of these every year, just like with the iPhone.

Read this: A guide to ECG on Apple Watch Series 4

But what did we say it was going to look like? We said it was time for a design overhaul, and while it wasn't a radical one (like getting a round Apple Watch), we did get new sizes and bigger displays. We also anticipated Apple would put its acquisition of sleep tracking company Beddit to use and finally bring native sleep tracking support to its smartwatch. But, that didn't happen.

What we did get, though, is an Apple Watch with potentially life-saving features, and this was a major reason we named it our Smartwatch and Wearable of the Year at this year's Wareable Tech Awards.

Fitbit's 2018 offensive (#4)

Wareable 50, one year on: How did we do with our wearable tech predictions?

Fitbit needed to come out all guns blazing after underwhelming with its first smartwatch, the Ionic. And, in many respects, it did. We got the Fitbit Versa, it's second and far more appealing smartwatch, and it seems to be doing the business for James Park's company.

Along with the Versa, Fitbit has been making regular improvements to its Fitbit OS smartwatch operating system, too. Running on the Versa and Ionic, the experience from the wrist is a significantly smoother one than a year ago.

We also got the Fitbit Charge 3 that brought Versa-inspired customisation and proper waterproofing (and swim tracking) to the flagship tracker for the first time. Fitbit also launched the Ace, its first ever fitness tracker for kids. It's been a busy 2018 for Fitbit and we only expect things to get busier in the coming year.

Oculus: Phase 2 (#10)

Wareable 50, one year on: How did we do with our wearable tech predictions?

It's been an interesting year for VR on the whole, but as far as the Facebook-owned company's own developments, it largely delivered on what we expected to happen in 2018. The Oculus Go launched in early 2018 and we liked the standalone VR headset so much that it was voted our VR/AR Innovation of the Year at this year's Wareable Tech Awards.

Along with the arrival of the Go, Oculus announced Quest, its high-end standalone headset that sits between the Go and the Rift. The Quest is launching in early 2019, and will ship with 50+ launch titles and Oculus Touch controllers. The challenge for Oculus and other VR hardware makers is to get people spending more time with VR and spending money on it. Whether Oculus can continue to lead VR out of its current rocky patch remains to be seen.

Nearly... but not quite

Augmented reality (#1)

Wareable 50, one year on: How did we do with our wearable tech predictions?

Our top prediction was that augmented reality would be on everyone's lips in 2018. Apple, Google, Snapchat and Facebook had all declared their intentions to go big on AR, but we didn't really see this backed up in the hardware space.

In smartglasses, we only had startup North (formerly Thalmic Labs) to thank for offering us something exciting with its Focals specs (that launch in 2019). Apple, Samsung and Google's hardware still seems like a couple of years away, at least.

Smartphone AR continues to push the industry forward, and we still think it will be a big topic of discussion next year, but 2018 ended up being a year in which AR continued to brew.

Vive 2 (#6)

Wareable 50, one year on: How did we do with our wearable tech predictions?

We did get a new Vive in 2018, but it's fair to say it wasn't the Vive 2 we pictured. Granted, we did get a new piece of hardware with improved resolution displays, integrated headphones and a wireless adaptor to make the PC-powered headset a less cumbersome experience to use, but it wasn't a radical upgrade on the first Vive.

With Oculus' unveiling of the Quest, and pushing standalone headsets forward with the Oculus Go, we'll be expecting big things from all things Vive to prove it's still the superior platform for high-end VR.

Vic Gundotra (#9)

Wareable 50, one year on: How did we do with our wearable tech predictions?

We thought it would be a big year for Gundotra, CEO of AliverCor, the company responsible for the first Apple Watch-compatible device to get approval from the FDA. The KardiaBand Apple Watch strap, with its built-in electrocardiogram, had the ability to detect abnormal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation, giving it the potential to literally save lives.

Everything was shaping up for it to be the go-to device to help anyone keep better track of their heart health, but then Apple decided it was going to pack ECG tech directly into its smartwatch, taking us all by surprise that it was ready to introduce the health monitoring tech to the world. Sorry, Vic.

Missed the mark

Swatch Swiss OS Tissot watch (#8)

Wareable 50, one year on: How did we do with our wearable tech predictions?

In 2017, Swatch CEO Nick Hayek said the company's Tissot brand would launch the first watch powered by its new Swiss OS in 2018 - and who were we to believe it wasn't going to happen?

Since it's no-show, a spokesperson confirmed to Wareable that the watchmaker's operating system will launch no later than early 2019. We eagerly await to see the watchmaker's riposte to the Apple Watch and the rest of the smartwatch clan when it does land. Will it all be a little too late? We hope Swatch has something pretty special to show off when it's ready to do the big reveal.

Smarter assistants (#5)

Wareable 50, one year on: How did we do with our wearable tech predictions?

With smart assistants building momentum in the home, it felt like high time that smartwatches and hearables caught up and did a better job of embracing Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri to make them more useful.

Essential reading: Best hearables to buy right now

Did we really get that in 2018? No. We were lacking any really standout hearables that packed in those smarts, and while Apple, Google and Samsung all made improvements to their respective smartwatch operating systems, smart assistants didn't get a great deal of love.

Fossil's smart ambitions (#7)

Wareable 50, one year on: How did we do with our wearable tech predictions?

This year, Fossil Group gave us the smarter, er, smartwatches we'd been asking for. In 2017 though, Greg McKelvey, executive vice president, chief strategy and digital officer at the Fossil Group revealed it was planning to put smarts into hearables, handbags and even eyewear. It seems that the focus this year was getting Google Pay and proper sports tracking features into its sleek collection of wrist wear that covers the likes of Michael Kors, Emporio Armani and Fossil's own watches. Next year? Who knows.

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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