iWatch may be make or break for wearable tech

(Photo: Fuse Chicken)

(Photo: Fuse Chicken)

As the first new product line launched under Tim Cook, most people realize how significant the iWatch is going to be for Apple. But research firm ABI Research thinks it’s also going to be make or break for the wearables market.

Crunching figures, ABI points out that “smartwatch” shipments for the first quarter of 2014 was an unimpressive 510,000 units — with the top four players being Samsung, Sony, Pebble and Casio. ABI suggests that users are holding off on picking up wearables until the launch of the iWatch.

Despite some good feedback for devices like Motorola Mobility’s Moto 360, non-Apple vendors are reportedly placing only limited orders for wearables due to their uncertainty over demand. With popular smartphone brands like Samsung and LG botching their entry into the smartwatch market, it is up to Apple to show everyone how it is done.

ABI seems to have faith that Apple can do it, though, on account of the brand’s strong demand thanks to its large and loyal consumer group. At the same time, if the iWatch fails to achieve good sales, ABI notes that this is likely to have a drastic impact on the industry’s future. To paraphrase Star Wars, “Save us, Apple, you’re our only hope!”

Apple is set to release its long-anticipated iWatch later this year, most likely in October. USB analyst Steven Milunovich previously predicted that the iWatch could match sales of the iPad — selling 21 million units in fiscal 2015, and a further 36 million units the following year. Seeing as smartwatches are currently shipping just 2.2 million units per year all told, this would mark a seismic increase.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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