While smartwatch adoption remains limited by (a lack of) consumer interest, Analysys Mason claims Apple will drive growth in the market and consequently bring demand to competing manufacturers.
Apple finally entered the wearables market overnight with the unveiling of its 'Apple Watch' which will be priced from a steep $US349. The device will be compatible with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus — also revealed overnight — and the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s.
Analysys Mason expects smartwatches to become the dominant wearable by sales in early 2017. By 2020, it anticipates the smartwatch market to be worth $US12.9 billion annually for developed markets, comprised of 92.6 million devices.
According to the firm's digital economy analyst, Enrique Velasco-Castillo, "Apple's new wearable will significantly slow down sales of competing devices in the final quarter of 2014 as consumers wait for the Apple Watch to reach stores in Q1 2015."
In the long run, the claim is that "other manufacturers will benefit from a 'halo' of increase interest and awareness in smartwatches as a credible device type."
"Analysys Mason expects just under one million smartwatches to have sold by the end of 2014; this will leap to 13.6m sales in 2015 following the Apple Watch launch."
If demand does in fact equate the analyst firm's predictions, the Apple Watch will logically serve as "the centre(time)piece of interaction with other Apple devices" (as Velasco-Castillo puts it), with Siri voice recognition, HomeKit, and third party applications to add another dimension to Apple's controlled iOS and Mac ecosystem.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.