Apple just sent out invitations for a March 9 event that many predict will see the technology giant debut the Apple Watch, or at least offer some strategic news. With a "Spring Forward" tagline, it's not hard to guess that the Apple Watch is at the center of the event.
Apple Watch will let you communicate from your wrist by sending and receiving messages and answering calls to your iPhone. With its iOS-based user interface customized for a smaller device, and the Digital Crown for scrolling, zooming and navigating without interfering with the display, Apple is expected to offer a unique smart watch experience.
In recent weeks, the rumor mills have been churning with predictions about what else the Apple Watch may do and how it will fare. There are even headlines about how to get a gold Apple Watch for $8,000 less than what Apple could charge and, of course, smart-watch accessory makers are starting to reveal their Apple Watch wares.
Is Pessimism in Order?
Despite the expected starting $349 price tag, Apple will account for a quarter of the wearable computing devices market in 2015, selling about 20 million Apple Watches by the end of 2015, predicts market research firm CCS Insight. That equals about 7 percent of those who own a compatible iPhone at the time the smart watch is launched.
We caught up with Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, to get his take on the fate of the Apple Watch. Recently, he told us, it hasn't paid to be pessimistic around Apple launches.
"Ultimately, the Apple Watch is a companion device. It only is for a subset of device buyers, those who already have the iPhone. Apple will probably sell millions," Entner said.
Although Entner is not willing to predict failure for Apple, even with a companion device with a limited audience, he does have some reservations over the launch. He looks at it this way: Apple is offering a $350 watch. How many people are in the $350 watch market on top of owning a $700 phone? A quick calculation tells you the Apple Watch and iPhone is a $1,000 combination. How big could the market really be?
Just the Beginning
"I think the Apple Watch will be pretty successful in the U.S. and reasonably successful in China but in a lot of other markets it will not be that successful," Entner predicted.
Sales of wearable computing devices will grow from 29 million in 2014 to 172 million in 2018, CCS Insight predicts, thanks in large part to Apple's success with its first smart watch. The company is also forecasting a spike in 2015, with smart watches and fitness trackers leading the way. Apple has decided to exclude health and fitness functions, reportedly due to issues with inconsistency in sensor readings as well as concern with possible regulation as a medical device by the government.
"If you drink the Apple Kool-Aid I'm sure you will buy one," Entner said. "Ultimately, the success of wearables will come when they roll out standalone devices and not companion devices. You have to remember that this is the first generation of the Apple Watch. We are dabbling at the very beginning of wearable technology, so we shouldn't judge this whole market based on first-generation products."
Posted: 2015-03-01 @ 1:13pm PT
Dollar stores should come up with cheap fake smart watches to capitalize on the "cool" factor. That's about the only smart watch I would be interested in.