December 19, 2011, 4:01 PM — Apple gets a lot of credit for making us symbiotic with our technology.
You could take music with you before the iPod, but it was pretty awkward. Clumsy tapes, CDs that skipped when you bumped something, MP3s made and used by people who thought "lossless" meant you hadn't misplaced the digital music player...
The iPod made it cool and convenient to take all your music with you. It led to having so much music you can never find what you want, or never break out of the same 10-song loop that lasts the same amount of time as the walk on your commute, or time on the exercycle or length of that really boring staff meeting.
iPhones did the same for smart phones, changing what "smart" actually meant when paired with "phone." (Before that a "smart" phone let you complete a call without dropping it. That's more than the iPhone could do for a long time, but at least it had games you could play while you waited to reconnect.)
"Wearable" computers have been around in concept and in labs for a long time, always used only by the developers or the geekiest of the geeks (because they're the only ones who could make the things work or remember consistently to put them away before doing the laundry.)
Apple and Google are teaming up to make smartphones more portable – wearable, so you'll always have it with you, rather than in your pocket, so that Apple can sell more iPhones and Google can sell more advertising, according to the New York Times, which in this case appears to be correct. At least about the intent.
The facts themselves may be Apple insiders flogging their own coolness:
"A person with knowledge of the company’s plans told me that a “very small group of Apple employees” had been conceptualizing and even prototyping some wearable devices." – NYT, Dec. 18, 2011
First of all, I know "a person with knowledge of the company's plans." I've spoken to him and her, frequently, about many companies on many different stories.
He/she often does know things about the company's plans because he/she is either the product manager in charge of selling them or the PR person in charge of getting people to write about them.
Product managers and PR people are professional touts. That's not necessarily dishonorable, but it does mean even at their best you have to take what they say with a grain of salt.
When they have to go that far off the record, they're unusually unreliable and the amount of salt required goes up.