Apple overtakes Fitbit to be crowned world’s largest wearables vendor

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Apple Watch nylon bands
Apple Watch is big business.
Photo: Apple

Apple has overtaken Fitbit to be crowned largest wearables vendor in the world, according to Strategy Analytics.

The market research firm claims that Apple sold around 3.5 million Apple Watches in the first three months of calendar 2017. That’s an increase of a massive 59 percent from the 2.2 million units Apple sold during the first quarter 2016. It means the company currently holds 16 percent of the worldwide market share.

The Apple Watch business is way bigger than you think

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apple watch bands
Apple's wearables raked in $5 billion over the last year.
Photo: Apple

Apple Watch gets a lot of stick for being a “me-too” product, and people who don’t see the need for a smartwatch assume the business is a bust. There’s this crazy perception that Apple Watch is just not selling — but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Apple Watch, alongside other Apple wearables, is now raking in billions of dollars every year. The business is huge. So huge, in fact, that it would be a Fortune 500 company all by itself, outselling supposed smash hits like Microsoft’s Surface tablets and the Amazon Echo.

Here’s why Apple Watch isn’t the flop you think it is.

Trouble in China, iPhone slump and other Apple earnings surprises

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How will investors respond to Apple's relatively flat earnings?
How will investors respond to Apple's relatively flat earnings?
Photo: Ste Smith

Apple’s Q2 earnings report for 2017 just barely beat Wall Street’s expectations when the numbers were revealed this afternoon, but there are plenty of reasons to still be optimistic about AAPL.

During the company’s call with investors today, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri discussed some of the struggles the company experienced last quarter, from slumping iPhone sales to economic headwinds in China.

Here are the biggest takeaways:

Teens love their iPhones more than ever

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The iPhone is set to get a major speed upgrade.
iPhone is king among teens.
Photo: Ste Smith

The iPhone has never been more popular with teens, according to a new survey that found 76 percent of U.S. teenagers with a smartphone own an Apple.

Investment firm Piper Jaffray’s semiannual teen survey discovered that iPhone ownership among teenagers rose seven points from spring 2016, when 69 percent of U.S. teens owned an iPhone. The news gets even better for Apple — 81 percent of teens surveyed say they plan to buy an iPhone the next time they upgrade.

Apple Watch surges to ‘best quarter ever’ as Fitbit sales decline

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Apple Watch is no flop.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

2016 was a fantastic year for Apple Watch, according to the latest info from the International Data Corporation that shows Apple’s wearable just experience its best quarter ever.

In its latest report, IDC analysts say Apple Watch is finally closing the gap on Fitbit, which just experienced its largest declines ever in the fourth quarter.

Apple Watch Series 2 is sold out ahead of Christmas

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Apple Watch Nike Plus
Giving "the gift of go" might not be possible.
Photo: Apple

Getting your hands on an Apple Watch Series 2 in time for Christmas has become nearly impossible for holiday shoppers.

Demand for the new watch has ticked up to a new level in the last month, according to Apple employees, who told Cult of Mac that stores are selling out of the Apple Watch Series 2 so fast that production can’t keep up.

Fitbit surges as Apple Watch stumbles

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Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch may be the most recognizable product in the wearables space, but it isn’t the best-selling.

Sales of Apple Watch are down more than 70 percent, according to IDC Research, which cites third-quarter sales figures of the wearables market.

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?

A swimmer’s view of Apple Watch Series 2 [Reviews]

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Does Apple Watch Series 2 sink or swim?
Does Apple Watch Series 2 sink or swim?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The Workout app in Apple Watch Series 2 includes two new swimming options to show off its waterproofing. This is a key differentiator over the cheaper Series 1 model, and yet very few reviewers actually took their test units for a swim. One even claimed that all the pools and beaches in New York were closed, so they couldn’t test this feature.

So I decided to take the plunge with Series 2 and find out for myself if it sinks or swims.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve tested my Apple Watch in a variety of swimming conditions, including various public pools — and even the Mediterranean sea.