Measured Me: Should Apple Build The iPod of Personal Biometrics

As some of you who follow me on the stream know, I’ve been searching a few years now for a great wearable biometric measurement device. Thus far I’ve been reticent to throw down the cash for any of the current devices on the market, largely because they either don’t do what I want them to do, or I’ve heard stories about them breaking easily.

The “measured me” revolution is coming, if it’s not already here. Measured me is the idea that we should have all of the data about ourselves at our fingertips in order to make better decisions, or simply motivate ourselves. Right now these devices track stuff like the number of steps you took that day, your sleep patterns, swim strokes, and a host of other activities. Some come with great dashboards for the data like Fitbit.

This market is going to be enormous eventually. Bigger than personal music devices, by a mile. It’s just a question of what these devices need to do in order to gain mass adoption.

Right now I see this market in the Walkman phase. These are the first few products that people will actually buy and use, because they do serve a decent purpose. But they don’t do nearly enough to warrant mass adoption, not even close. In the next 2-3 years I believe we’re going to begin going through the CD phase of this market where we’ll take another step up the ladder in the size of market and ease of use. We’re probably 3-4 years away from going through the early mp3 player phase where people can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And then, someone is going to build the iPod of wearable personal biometric devices. And you have to wonder how much Apple has already been fooling around with the idea of entering this market because they seem like the perfect ones to own it.

Part of the genius of Steve Jobs was understanding when a market had come to fruition and when he has THE product to own it. Walter Isaacson made it a point to go deep on the fact that Jobs had a iPad cooked up several years before he even considered releasing it. Steve wasn’t just a product genius, he understood markets and society.

Does Apple still have that talent to understand this crucial aspect? Are the incentive structures at that company still aligned to wait for that perfect moment? The same can be said about the rumored Apple TV.

Or will it be a startup out of nowhere that becomes the next personal electronics behemoth?

Either way, this is a space I’ll be watching carefully. And along the way, I’ll probably throw down for a few of these devices before someone gets it right.

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