January 16, 2006 Apple sold 14 million iPods in the Christmas quarter of 2005. Which accounts for why there are 700 iPod accessories soon to be wearing Apple’s “Made for iPod” logo – 700 different products which are all iPod accessories - no wonder Apple decided to charge a fee to trade off the success of its iconic MP3 player. As we’ve already noted, the world’s automotive manufacturers are clamouring to offer iPod integration and now the first wave of wearable technology manufacturers are doing likewise. One of the latest announcements is from Kyono which is marketing what it hopes will become the male equivalent to a woman’s ‘little black dress.’ The BlackCoat Work is a lightweight jacket made from water resistant stretch cotton and is scheduled for release in March 2006 at US$179. The BlackCoat Work is one of four new lightweight outerwear designs for Spring 2006 that will include integrated controls for Apple iPods. As with similar MP3-player jackets already released, the BlackCoat Work user hooks the iPod up to the jacket and controls the play, pause and volume controls from the sleeve.
Koyono founder Jay Yoo prefers to think of himself as an inventor, rather than a fashion designer and considers Elektek smart fabrics “to be the next zipper.”
Yoo says, “We think the Eleksen fabric control technology opens up a vast array of possibilities for how we can effortlessly integrate with our technology. We are looking at how we can use this innovation in all our designs.”
ElekTex is a unique five-layer laminate of electrically conductive materials that transforms fabric into an electronic touchpad. The technology replaces the hard touch pads, flexi-circuits and polymer switches, which limited the growth of the wearable electronics market. ElekTex, which is lightweight, flexible, durable and washable, is revolutionizing design across the consumer electronics and wearables sectors.
Kyono designs will wear the Made for iPod logo, “assuring customers that an electronic accessory has been designed specifically to connect to iPod and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards.”