Are smartwatches doomed?

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swimmer wearing apple watch
Is fitness really all that Apple Watch is fit for?
Photo: Apple

The writing has been on the wall for smartwatches ever since Cupertino chose to focus on sports and fitness features for Apple Watch Series 2. Smartwatch sales are plummeting, and fitness seems to be the only profitable area remaining in the wearables sector.

More evidence of this trend emerged this week, with smartwatch trailblazer Pebble reportedly being acquired by fitness wearables specialist Fitbit. We might very well be witnessing the demise of the smartwatch as we know it.

So how did we get here? Is Apple Watch really only fit for fitness, or could it still one day fulfill its destiny and become a true wrist-based computing platform?

Escape From New York smartwatch might make your head explode

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Lifeclock One makes you Snake Plissken-chic.
Lifeclock One makes you Snake Plissken-chic.
Photo: Jonathan Zufi

Before there was an Apple Watch, Snake Plissken had a kind of smartwatch that tracked his health. He knew that if his watch hit zero before he could rescue the President of the United States, he could count on the explosives injected into his neck to go off.

But that’s not the point. What matters is that the countdown clock attached to actor Kurt Russell for the 1981 classic Escape from New York would make a really stylish smartwatch today. And you can now own one and wear it as if your president’s life depended on it.

Wearable shipments fall as Apple Watch gets long in the tooth

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Ugreen's magnetic charging station for the Apple Watch.
When Apple Watch shipments fall, the industry feels it.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Wearable shipments fell for the first time ever last quarter, and it’s all thanks to declining interest in an aging Apple Watch. Smartwatch vendors shipped just 3.5 million units during Q2 2016, down from 5.1 million units over the same quarter last year.

Apple Watch’s dominance isn’t slowing down any time soon

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As smartwatches grow in popularity, the Apple Watch will continue to be the hands-on - or wrist-on - favorite.
As smartwatches grow in popularity, the Apple Watch will continue to be the hands-on - or wrist-on - favorite.
Photo: Apple

The Apple Watch is the hottest smartwatch on the market. And it looks like it is going to stay that way for a while.

A report by International Data Corporation says the Apple Watch will lead a rapidly growing wearables market through at least 2019 as a skeptical public gets won over by more sophisticated second- and third-generation devices.

IDC projects Apple to sell 13 million watches this year for a little more than 61 percent of the market share. The number of Apple Watches sold will reach 45.2 million by 2019, according to IDC’s report.