Apple Watch shipments will reach new highs in 2017

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Nyloon's Elysee Nylon Band for Apple Watch in navy, white and red has a comfortable, fabric-like feel.
Apple Watch is still strong ahead of the Series 3 refresh.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch shipments may have slowed in recent months, but with Series 3 right around the corner, the device is expected to enjoy a strong end to 2017.

According to sources in its supply chain, Apple is likely to ship a total of 15 million Apple Watches for the year. That figure could rise even higher in 2018.

The smartwatch market is still in its infancy, and for the vast majority of consumers, wearable devices aren’t a necessity. Demand is yet to reach expected levels due to things like poor battery life, high prices, and the fact that most devices simply replicate smartphone functionality.

For most watch manufacturers, this has led to weakening demand in recent years. Xiaomi and Fitbit have both seen sales drop for their fitness bands, while shipments from Samsung, LG, Huawei, and Motorola remain weak.

Some, like ASUS, have bowed out of the smartwatch market altogether after failing to build any kind of worthwhile business.

Fortunately for Apple, the same cannot be said about Apple Watch. Although there has been a slight drop in demand as its Series 1 and Series 2 devices near their first birthday, the lineup has been significantly more successful than any of its predecessors.

“Apple’s overall smartwatch shipments are expected to rise to 4.5 million units in the fourth quarter and hit 15 million for the whole year 2017,” reports Digitimes, citing sources in Apple’s upstream supply chain. “The sources expect the volume to rise to 20 million units in 2018.”

There are high hopes for Apple Watch Series 3. Although we’re not expecting any major changes to its design, recent rumors have promised that it will deliver 4G LTE connectivity, allowing us to use apps and stay connected without being tethered to our iPhones over Bluetooth.

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