Smartwatch market drops 5.6% in Q3

apple-watch-2One of the hottest products recently is experiencing growing pains. Smartwatch shipment slid 51.6 percent to 2.7 million units in Q3 compared to the same period last year, according to IDC.

Although the decline is significant, it is worth noting that Q3 was the first time Apple’s Watch had widespread retail availability after a limited online launch. Meanwhile, the second generation Apple Watch was only available in the last two weeks of Q3.

“The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning. Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September. Google’s decision to hold back Android Wear 2.0 has repercussions for its OEM partners as to whether to launch devices before or after the holidays. Samsung’s Gear S3, announced at IFA in September, has yet to be released. Collectively, this left vendors relying on older, aging devices to satisfy customers,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager of IDC’s Wearables team.

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7.5m cellular smartwatches to ship in 2016

Seven and a half million smartwatches with cellular connectivity will ship in 2016, rising to 53.6 million in 2020, according to Canalys. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 63 percent from 2016 to 2020.

In the short term, shipments are likely to be driven by a new Apple Watch with cellular connectivity. Samsung and LG have been very aggressive in bringing new cellular technologies to market, with smart watches such as the Gear S2 classic 3G/4G and the Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, and will also play significant roles. Both the Tizen and Android Wear smart watch platforms already support cellular connectivity.

‘The phase 2 eSIM specification will enable more independent smart watches with a smoother user experience around cellular connectivity. Users will soon be able to easily choose among cellular providers and pay for monthly service. Many more smart watches with LTE and GPS/GNSS will also be released this year, thanks to the availability of new LTE Category 1 chipsets,” said Daniel Matte, Analyst of Canalys.

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Worldwide wearable market jumps 171.6% in 2015

IDCWearable devices are all the rage. Fueled by the growing popularity of fitness trackers and the Apple Watch, the global wearable device market grew 126.9 percent in Q4, bringing total annual shipment to 78.1 million units, a rise of 171.6 percent, according to IDC.

“Triple-digit growth highlights growing interest in the wearables market from both end-users and vendors. “It shows that wearables are not just for the technophiles and early adopters; wearables can exist and are welcome in the mass market. And since wearables have yet to fully penetrate the mass market, there is still plenty of room for growth in multiple vectors: new vendors, form factors, applications, and use cases. This will help propel the market further,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager of IDC’s wearables team.

“What is warranted is continued innovation and development. The market can only get so far with ‘me too’ and ‘copycat’ wearable devices. End-users expect improvement from what they have now, and new applications to spur replacement and increased adoption. Historical data, like steps taken and calories burned, has been a very good start. Prescriptive data, like what else a user can do to live a healthier life, coupled with popular applications like social media, news, and navigation, will push wearables further, and attract more users,” he added.

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Apple conquers smart watch market

Apple Watch threeApple is top of the league in the smart watch market in 2015, accounting for over 12 million units and two-thirds of all shipment, according to Canalys.

Samsung returned to second place in Q4, as the improved design of the Gear S2 saw a much better consumer reception than previous wearable efforts by the company. Pebble came third and Huawei fourth, establishing itself as the leading Android Wear vendor.

Basic bands exceeded 37 million shipments for the year. Fitbit set a quarterly shipment record as it comfortably led the category. Xiaomi held second place, shipping 12 million Mi Bands during 2015.

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7m Apple Watches sold in six months

Apple WatchesApple’s magic formula for success has continued with the Apple Watch. The highly-sought after smart watch dominated the market with nearly seven million units sold since launch, according to Canalys.

And this figure in just two quarters exceeds all other vendors’ combined shipments over the previous five quarters. That’s simply amazing!

In Q3, Apple was the only smart watch vendor to ship more than 300,000 units. The quarter also saw the release of the Pebble Time Steel, which helped the company ship more than 200,000 total smart watches, while Samsung’s Gear shipment declined ahead of the Q4 release of the Gear S2. Vendors will continue to battle for position behind Apple in Q4 as a raft of new devices from a diverse set of companies hits the market. For example, both Fossil and Tag Heuer will be launching their first smart watches before the end of the year.

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Apple Watch makes its mark in Q2

Apple Watch rangeIt’s confirmed. Price does not matter when it comes to Apple products, or at least to Apple fans.

In its launch quarter, Apple Watch took the lion’s share of the wearable market with 4.2 million units shipped, according to Canalys. It breezed past Fitbit, Xiaomi and all the smart watch vendors, despite its significantly higher pricing.

However, early sales were hindered by two factors — Apple missing the end of year holiday season and supply constraints.

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US$17,000 for a smartwatch?

Apple Watch availabilityHow much is one prepared to pay for the latest gadgets? US$3,000 for a high-end gaming notebook? US$1,000 for a top-of-the-line graphics card or smartphone? But, a smartwatch for US$17,000. That’s really over the top!

OK, it helps that its maker is Apple and that the world has been waiting for six whole months. Also, the Apple Watch will only be available in nine countries in April.

The Apple smartwatches come in three flavours — a US$350 entry-level Sport model, a steel model at US$500 and two 18-karat gold models going for US$10,000 (US$17,000 with a classy strap). At these prices, other smartwatch players can hold steady for now. For consumers though, let’s hope it doesn’t set a new benchmark for gadget pricing.

Wearable band shipment up 37% in Q3

Moto 360Wearable bands are all the rage with many new models announced and expected to be available in the coming months.

In Q3, nearly five million wearable bands were shipped — an increase of 37 percent quarter on quarter, according to Canalys.

Motorola Mobility’s Moto 360 is the most successful among Android Wear devices, accounting for over 15 percent of the smart band market. Despite being supply-constrained, its appealing design helped it to easily outship other Android Wear products.

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Watch for it — US$30 smartwatches next year!

mi-bandSmartwatches are attracting lots of attention but the prices are keeping many at bay, at least for now. Come next year, the prices are expected to average US$30, as smartphone vendors and component suppliers look to tap this market. In fact, Xiaomi has already introduced the Mi Band at just US$13.

Gartner predicts that by 2016, smartwatches will comprise about 40 percent of consumer wristworn devices. Nine out of the top 10 smartphone vendors have entered the wearables market to date or are about to ship a first product, while a year ago only two vendors were in that space.

“Apple has finally unveiled its Apple Watch, which we expect to trigger more consumer interest once it starts shipping in 2015,” said Angela McIntyre, Research Director of Gartner.

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Apple Watch to spur worldwide wearable growth of 129% next year

Watch lineupJust a day after Tim Cook announced the much-awaited Apple Watch to a thrilled gathering of journalists, Canalys is predicting that the device will be the biggest driver behind wearable band shipment in 2015.

The global wearable market is expected to grow 129 percent year on year to reach 43.2 million units in 2015, of which 28.2 million will be smart bands and 15.0 million will be basic bands, according Canalys.

Canalys defines smart bands as those capable of running third-party applications, and basic bands, as those which are not.

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New iPhones are bigger with Watch to come in 2015

iPhone 6It’s confirmed. The new iPhone 6 and 6 plus are bigger than their predecessors. Of course, this is not exactly news with the numerous leaks over the past weeks.

Sporting a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, the iPhone 6 is the smaller of the two and is marginally thinner than the previous incarnation. The larger iPhone 6 plus ventures into the phablet space with a 5.5-inch display. Both smartphones come with the A8 processor, a 8MP rear and 2.1MP front camera.

Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia are among the 15 countries where the Apple products will be first sold on September 19.

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