iWatch may be make or break for wearable tech

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The iPhone and iPad are chock-full of sensors, ranging from proximity sensors and accelerometers to magnetometers and ambient light sensors. Next to the iWatch, however, they could end up looking like the dumb mobile phones of a pre-iPhone age. That’s because if you believe the rumors, the iWatch is set to be loaded with more sensors than you can shake a, well, a very-sensor-filled thing at.A recent report from The Wall Street Journal suggests the iPhone will feature a massive 10 different sensors, including one for analyzing sweat. Patents from Apple suggest the company is also set on expanding the functionality of present-generation wrist-worn devices, with research into everything from monitoring users' heart rates to sensors that can work intelligently together to deduce the precise activity a person is doing (for example, combining motion and pulse-rate measurements with location sensors to determine if you’re out for a jog or running on a treadmill). Impressive stuff!
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.

Source: Digitimes