Apple Watch will continue to dominate for years to come

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Apple Watch Series 4 Solar System Watch Face
Apple Watch won’t have serious rivals in the foreseeable future.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch has the lion’s share of smart watch sales today, and that’ll hold true through at least 2023, according to a market-research firm. This ultra-mobile computer will stay in the lead as the entire market for wrist-worn wearables grows strongly.

Sales of AirPods and other hearables are also expected see healthy growth in the coming years.

AirPods 2 launch was kind of a dud

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airpods
Deals on first-generation AirPods cut into sales of the new version.
Photo: Ste Smith/ Cult of Mac

The debut of Apple’s second-generation AirPods didn’t trigger a huge surge in first-day sales, according to new data from a market-research company.

Still, the whole Q1 hearables market grew 40 percent over the previous quarter.

Apple’s wearables is now the size of a Fortune 200 company

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Apple Watch arm wrestling
Apple's Apple Watch business grew 50% last quarter.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple’s wearables business continues to grow like gangbusters.

Sales of the Apple Watch grew 50% compared to the same quarter last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Apple’s Q2 2019 quarterly analyst call Tuesday.

If Apple’s wearables business — which includes the Apple Watch and the popular AirPods earbuds — were a stand-alone company, it would be in the Fortune 200, Cook said.

Welt smart belt is like an Apple Watch for your waist

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Welt2
This belt will monitor your increasingly girth.
Photo: Welt

CES 2019 bug Forget your wrist. The new location for wearable devices is clearly your waist, at least according to Korean wearables company Welt. At CES 2019, the startup unveiled its smart belt, which promises to track physical activity, measure your expanding waistline, and even perform Apple Watch-style fall detection.

The Welt smart belt does this using a bevy of sensors and a Bluetooth connection. The data gathered is sent to a connected mobile device such as an iPhone.

Apple has invented its very own fabric

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Apple t-shirt 2
"Clothing by Jony." Or not.
Photo: Ryan Orr/Flickr CC

The Apple Watch may be the world’s top wearable device right now, but that doesn’t mean that Apple’s happy to stop there. According to a newly published patent, Apple has developed its very own fabric, made up of a ridged material to offer a “contrasting appearance.”

The patent is an ornamental one, covering the look of the fabric rather than a specific use case. However, given Apple’s history of investigation into smart fabrics, it’s possible that the material could be used for developing future smart, sensor-equipped clothing.

Apple Watch sales are up but it’s losing marketshare

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2018 Apple Watch
Raise to wake might finally be coming to an end.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch is finally starting to face some bigger competition from rival smartwatch-makers, based on the latest data from Canalys.

Fitbit and Garmin are capitalizing on the wearables trend and diversifying their lineups to appeal to specific use cases. As a result, Apple Watch’s market share shrunk even though it sold more watches in Q2 2018 than it did during the same period last year.

Apple hardware, smart clothing could guide the blind and deaf

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smart clothing
Apple is developing a device and some type of wearable that could help the deaf and blind
Photo: Apple/USPTO

Apple is developing technology that would combine a cylindrical device and possibly smart clothing to provide blind and deaf people tactile or auditory signals to navigate their environments.

According to a patent application filed by Apple today, the device would map the environment with sensor data and provide feedback. For the blind, the device could sync with an iPhone to provide spoken feedback to the blind. For the deaf, vibrating signals could be delivered to a wearable, such as a shirt or the Apple Watch.

Next Apple Watch might be plus-size

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2018 Apple Watch
Raise to wake might finally be coming to an end.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch isn’t just growing in sales — it’s about to grow in size, too. At least, that’s the prediction of an analyst with long track record for accuracy.

A larger display would make room for a bigger battery. Apple likely will build new health features into its updated wearable as well.

New Fitbit Versa takes aim at Apple Watch

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Fitbit Versa
Fitbit Versa is likely to become a top competitor for Apple Watch.
Photo: Fitbit

Fitbit is stepping up to compete better with the Apple Watch with the Versa smartwatch. The new wearable looks similar to Apple’s watch, and offers music playback and other capabilities. Plus, it arrives at a lower price point — just under $200.

The Versa’s unveiling comes just after Apple surpassed Fitbit in the wearables market. Apparently, people want much more from their devices than just counting steps.