On the Money

Science fiction, meet reality: Technology's next wave

The new Apple Pay mobile payment system
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What once seemed like the details of a science fiction fantasy is rapidly becoming present day reality.

Driverless cars, cashless commerce, tiny mobile computers—all of these conveniences are becoming a part of a society where technology, applications and gadgets are proliferating rapidly.

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But longtime personal technology columnist Walt Mossberg, co-executive editor of Re/Code, believes that sustaining consumer adoption of emerging technologies requires an ease of use that mimics typical human behavior.

Take, for example, Apple's recently released Apple Pay application with its iPhone 6 and 6 plus.

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"Here's what I ask people," said Mossberg. "When you're standing in line at the store, what's in your hand? Your credit card or your phone?"

All the major debit card and credit card providers have linked with Apple Pay to allow cardholders to perform transactions directly from their accounts with the swipe of a finger.

"Apple's solution is so slick and so easy to use and it is built on top of the existing payment system that everyone's familiar with, the credit card system," Mossberg added.

Women's wear-ables?

The future is now

The road to increased adoption of another hotly-watched technology application—wearables— is slightly less smooth, Mossberg believes. This week, Microsoft released a bracelet linked to the Microsoft Health application called the Band.

Priced at $199, the Band is expected to take on existing products like the $350 Apple iWatch or the Fitbit, which has a starting price around $130.

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"We're coming out of the first inning," with wearables, he said. They "have a tiny amount of adoption" among consumers and have basic functionality similar to what's on a smart phone. But as both application development and devices become even more sophisticated, "I think we're going to see wearables mean so much more."

Mossberg sees a future where more intelligently designed wearable technology becomes an accepted–and intimate–part of daily life. In fact, the 'smart bra' is becoming less of a fantasy and more reality.

"Your clothing will, in 5 or 10 years, just naturally come with sensors" that will track health and fitness data, Mossberg said. "Things like bras that will have a heart rate monitor in them."

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