The Apple Watch finally has a launch date: April 24. Apple CEO Tim Cook called the wearable a "new chapter in the way we relate to technology."
Cook, for one, has high hopes for Apple Watch, which keeps time within 50 milliseconds of the universal time standard and can be personalized with watch faces ranging from traditional analog to butterflies and jellyfish. Of course, it does more than tell time and look cool.
Indeed, the Apple Watch lets you send messages, read e-mail and answer calls to your iPhone from your wrist. There's a Taptic Engine that alerts you with a tap so you don't miss notifications. Meanwhile, Digital Touch lets you communicate by sending a sketch, a tap or using the rhythm of your heartbeat. The device even comes equipped with Apple Pay and health and fitness features.
The question is, how many people will by it with its $349 price tag? Plenty, according to research from Parks Associates.
Are these Estimates Realistic?
In fact, the market research firm predicts consumers worldwide will buy about 15 million to 20 million Apple Watches in 2015. That's seems reasonable, seeing as it equates to less than 10% of Apple iPhone's user base, according to Harry Wang, director of health and mobile product research at Parks.
Wang said his sales estimate for the Apple Watch was similar to sales for the iPad during its launch year, but there is one X factor: the demand for the Apple Watch in Asia. Apple products have become much more popular in this region, Wang said, particularly in China, compared with five years ago, when the iPad was first released.
"Two topics key to the growth of the wearable industry in 2015 are the value of wearables usage data and the future of smart watch, especially with the introduction of the Apple Watch," Wang said. "Since the Wearable Tech Show takes place right after Apple's 'Spring Forward' media event, executives at the show will be able to discuss the implications of the company's announcements and analyze the future of the wearable industry, especially in the context of the fast-growing population of middle-class smartphone users in worldwide markets."
A Tough Sell
But not everyone is so bullish on the Apple Watch. We turned to Darren Hayes, an assistant professor and director of cybersecurity at Pace University's Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems in New York, to get his thoughts on how the Apple Watch will fare in a nascent wearables market.
"The Apple Watch will be a tough sell given that the basic model is $350, which equates to the cost of a decent tablet or basic laptop today," Hayes told us. "There are cheaper smart watches available.
"We haven't seen the same vigorous demand for smart watches when compared to smartphone sales. The key to success will be what differentiates the watch from the phone, and apps are always key to the success of smart devices, as evidenced by the demise of the BlackBerry."