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Rumor: Quanta to build 65M Apple "iWatch" units in first year, Q3 2014 release expected

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
A suspect new report out of China claims to have a great deal of specifics on Apple's rumored "iWatch," namely that it will debut in the third quarter of this year and will include advanced sensors to detect a user's heart rate and blood pressure, among other things.

Android Wear concept
Motorola's Moto 360 Android Wear-powered smart watch | Source: Google


The sketchily specific details from China's Economic Daily News, reported on Tuesday, claim that the supply chain for the device was recently finalized. The report states that Taiwan's Quanta Computer has received an exclusive contract to build the device, with 65 million units expected to be built in the first year of availability.

The report goes on to say that the so-called "iWatch" will sport custom chips designed in-house by Apple but that some of them will be built at Samsung's foundry, suggesting the company will continue to rely on its fierce rival for silicon.

It's claimed that Foxconn and Inventec were also in the running for assembly orders with the rumored "iWatch," but Quanta secured the exclusive contract. Other Taiwanese companies are said to supply the main assembly, touchscreen controls, and some integrated circuit and printed circuit boards for the final product.

iWatch
iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton


The report also goes on to say that the glass screen on Apple's anticipated wrist-worn accessory will be made of sapphire. Apple late last year signed an exclusive deal with GT Advanced Technologies Inc. for supply of sapphire glass, a material already used by Apple to protect the cover of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s, as well as the glass coating on the camera lens on the rear of the device.

As for Apple's rumored watch, another report this week suggested the company could include a UV light exposure sensor in the accessory. Its inclusion could warn users about sunburn or general concerns about sun exposure.

Apple has made a number of key hires in recent years related to health and fashion, suggesting to many that the company is working on a new wrist-worn device that could serve both functions as an advanced iPhone accessory. The wearables market has been an area of considerable interest for other technology companies -- including Samsung, Google, Sony and others -- all of which plan to release new wrist-based electronics this year.
post #2 of 38

So when they underestimate the 1st get iPad they make so they don't do that again? You can't build 65M of anything until you know how well it will sell.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #3 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

So when they underestimate the 1st get iPad they make so they don't do that again? You can't build 65M of anything until you know how well it will sell.
All one can do is laugh at a rumor like this. The only way Apple would be building 65M of a wearable device is if it was being included with an iPhone. I highly doubt that is happening.
post #4 of 38

Apple is from California and they like to export that culture in their products. And many times that is a good thing, but there are some negative aspects to that culture such as obsession with body image and fad diets and plastic surgery.

 

These obsessions all begin (as they logically must) with simply thinking about food and exercise too much. Instead of food just being the thing you use to keep you going (so you can get on with your main interests), it becomes the whole focus of your life. Instead of exercise being that simple walk to work in the morning, it becomes something you obsessively do for hours every day. This unhealthy amount of thought about one thing is the start of what ultimately becomes anorexia and/or obsesity.

 

And what could cause people to think about food and exercise an unhealthy amount, more than having it on their wrist all day, spitting statistics about their body to them? I'm sure when Apple think about what this product will do they are hoping it will help with the obesity epidemic. But I worry about the ordinary young woman with a well balanced diet and regular exercise putting one on and developing an eating disorder.

post #5 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


All one can do is laugh at a rumor like this. The only way Apple would be building 65M of a wearable device is if it was being included with an iPhone. I highly doubt that is happening.

 

This is my thought exactly...these insanely high predictions could only make sense if Apple was either giving it away, or charging some ridiculously low amount for it, and it would be considered an iPhone accessory that is available in store at launch.

 

Think about that for a moment....If the iWatch were, say, $79. And it launched in September along side iPhone 6 as an accessory (for iOS 8 devices with Healthbook)...how many could they potentially sell? Probably....a LOT.

 

65 million in the first 12 months is probably not a gross overestimate in that case.

post #6 of 38
Not to be that guy but Sapphire is not glass.
post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

This is my thought exactly...these insanely high predictions could only make sense if Apple was either giving it away, or charging some ridiculously low amount for it, and it would be considered an iPhone accessory that is available in store at launch.

Think about that for a moment....If the iWatch were, say, $79. And it launched in September along side iPhone 6 as an accessory (for iOS 8 devices with Healthbook)...how many could they potentially sell? Probably....a LOT.

65 million in the first 12 months is probably not a gross overestimate in that case.
I'm curious what a device that cheap would actually do. Because we know Apple isn't going to sell any hardware at cost or for a loss.
post #8 of 38
In a world where they sell 150 million iPhones this analyst thinks there's a market for upwards of half of that number for iWatches? I just don't see it. The iPad only sold about 10 mil that fist fisc year. Yeah it's a bigger device but with I believe bigger interest when it was debuted. I'm excited for what a potential iWatch could do but I don't think 65 million people are.
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post #9 of 38
Hmm...interesting recent Apple job posting. I wonder what "new system platform" means?

New System Platform Developer and Prototyping

Job Number: 32838240San Francisco, California, United StatesPosted: Apr. 7, 2014Weekly Hours: 40.00
Job Summary

Apple's Input Devices group is looking for a multi-talented engineer to prototype and develop new system platform. The candidate will be spearheading initiatives to bring concepts to life with demos and prototypes. This includes designing the HW platform (collaborating with sensors and analog designer in the team), developing FW and providing host driver for SW developers to interact. Candidate will further collaborate with UI SW developers to eventually bring the end-end HW-SW demo to life.

Key Qualifications

Candidate is required to have deep understanding of various micro-controllers and FPGA architecture and to be able to pick the best platform for the job.
Strong prototyping experience in HW/FW is required. This includes schematic capture, board layout, board bring up, FW bring up and testing.
Description

Experience in different sensor fusion, filtering, smoothing and calibration algorithm is strongly desired.

Education

Masters or higher degree in Electrical Engineering or similar discipline with focus on analog/mixed circuit designs.
post #10 of 38
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post #11 of 38
This is just the prelude to the "Apple cuts iwatch orders" stories in a few months.
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Not to be that guy but Sapphire is not glass.

I am that guy, but usually keep quiet. You're right, sapphire isn't glass, but it isn't capitalized either. Is it capitalized in German?
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Hmm...interesting recent Apple job posting. I wonder what "new system platform" means?

New System Platform Developer and Prototyping

Job Number: 32838240San Francisco, California, United StatesPosted: Apr. 7, 2014Weekly Hours: 40.00
Job Summary

Apple's Input Devices group is looking for a multi-talented engineer to prototype and develop new system platform. The candidate will be spearheading initiatives to bring concepts to life with demos and prototypes. This includes designing the HW platform (collaborating with sensors and analog designer in the team), developing FW and providing host driver for SW developers to interact. Candidate will further collaborate with UI SW developers to eventually bring the end-end HW-SW demo to life.

Key Qualifications

Candidate is required to have deep understanding of various micro-controllers and FPGA architecture and to be able to pick the best platform for the job.
Strong prototyping experience in HW/FW is required. This includes schematic capture, board layout, board bring up, FW bring up and testing.
Description

Experience in different sensor fusion, filtering, smoothing and calibration algorithm is strongly desired.

Education

Masters or higher degree in Electrical Engineering or similar discipline with focus on analog/mixed circuit designs.

Good catch, but this is probably just Tim Cook pretending they're working on new categories. /s
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


I'm curious what a device that cheap would actually do. Because we know Apple isn't going to sell any hardware at cost or for a loss.

That's the 65 million dollar question. Do they go cheap and make the iWatch a glorified fitness band? Or is it a full blown smart watch, the tech for which would have to drive the price up into the hundreds of dollars.

 

I personally don't see it selling well, no matter what it can do, if its a $199 or $299 iPhone accessory.

post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

All one can do is laugh at a rumor like this. The only way Apple would be building 65M of a wearable device is if it was being included with an iPhone. I highly doubt that is happening.

I have to agree with this. As great as it would be for Apple to be so confident that they decide before the first sale to make 65 MM units the first year it just seems unreasonable a risk to take and highly unlikely that Apple could be so confident. That said, I hope we're wrong.

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post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post

I am that guy, but usually keep quiet. You're right, sapphire isn't glass, but it isn't capitalized either. Is it capitalized in German?

I don't know about German, but isn't Sapphire a proper noun? That is the name of a specific material?
post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

That's the 65 million dollar question. Do they go cheap and make the iWatch a glorified fitness band? Or is it a full blown smart watch, the tech for which would have to drive the price up into the hundreds of dollars.

I personally don't see it selling well, no matter what it can do, if its a $199 or $299 iPhone accessory.

I predict this market to be like the tablet market. You have the bulk of the pre-iPad market being Archos and other very portable but limited tablet-like devices. These are the fitness bands. They are cheaper than their "smart" counterparts and are designed for limited tasks. For Archos is was entertainment and fitness bands it was, well, fitness. The other end were these smart-er devices. With tablets it was shoehorning a full desktop OS into a laptop with a touchscreen (see any number of WinTablets and ModBook) but with "smart" watches it's trying to replicate features of a smartphone.

When Apple releases a wearable they won't call it a smartwatch or brand it smart-anything. I think it will be an accessory device for your iPhone. I think it will somewhere between a fitness band and smartwatch in capability and excel in the capabilities it does have… like the iPad.

Note that only this year we finally started seeing smartwatches that appear to follow that trend. This, too, is like the tablet market right before Apple announced the iPad when Android-based tablets riddled CES. More the right track for a mobile device but still not optimized well for the HW and interface.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I have to agree with this. As great as it would be for Apple to be so confident that they decide before the first sale to make 65 MM units the first year it just seems unreasonable a risk to take and highly unlikely that Apple could be so confident. That said, I hope we're wrong.

There is however a considerable difference between building a line suitable for that production number and actually producing that many ahead of time. Given the right type of automation they could have a production line capable of spitting out 65 million a quarter. Depending upon what this iWatch actually is and the methods used to manufacture it, fabrication may require a fair amount of automation just to make it possible.
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I don't know about German, but isn't Sapphire a proper noun? That is the name of a specific material?

In English it's not capitalized when talking about corundum but oddly I tend to capitalize it when writing having to go back and correct it after the fact. Perhaps I should just save time by only using lower-case letters like Apple's hired ad team.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #20 of 38

It official the Samsung smart watch is a failure it is now for sale on Woot,

 

http://www.woot.com/?utm_expid=31924516-10

 

Woot is the dumping ground of unwanted stuff in Amazon's warehouses.

post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Apple is from California and they like to export that culture in their products. And many times that is a good thing, but there are some negative aspects to that culture such as obsession with body image and fad diets and plastic surgery.

These obsessions all begin (as they logically must) with simply thinking about food and exercise too much. Instead of food just being the thing you use to keep you going (so you can get on with your main interests), it becomes the whole focus of your life. Instead of exercise being that simple walk to work in the morning, it becomes something you obsessively do for hours every day. This unhealthy amount of thought about one thing is the start of what ultimately becomes anorexia and/or obsesity.

And what could cause people to think about food and exercise an unhealthy amount, more than having it on their wrist all day, spitting statistics about their body to them? I'm sure when Apple think about what this product will do they are hoping it will help with the obesity epidemic. But I worry about the ordinary young woman with a well balanced diet and regular exercise putting one on and developing an eating disorder.

My feelings too. I don't mind fitness being one element of a smartwatch, but if that is its main thrust, I don't think I would bite. There's no great secret to good health: eating in moderation and going for walks. No, an iWatch needs something else, like mobile payments.
Edited by Benjamin Frost - 4/8/14 at 8:47am
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post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Hmm...interesting recent Apple job posting. I wonder what "new system platform" means?

New System Platform Developer and Prototyping

Job Number: 32838240San Francisco, California, United StatesPosted: Apr. 7, 2014Weekly Hours: 40.00
Job Summary

Apple's Input Devices group is looking for a multi-talented engineer to prototype and develop new system platform. The candidate will be spearheading initiatives to bring concepts to life with demos and prototypes. This includes designing the HW platform (collaborating with sensors and analog designer in the team), developing FW and providing host driver for SW developers to interact. Candidate will further collaborate with UI SW developers to eventually bring the end-end HW-SW demo to life.

Key Qualifications

Candidate is required to have deep understanding of various micro-controllers and FPGA architecture and to be able to pick the best platform for the job.
Strong prototyping experience in HW/FW is required. This includes schematic capture, board layout, board bring up, FW bring up and testing.
Description

Experience in different sensor fusion, filtering, smoothing and calibration algorithm is strongly desired.

Education

Masters or higher degree in Electrical Engineering or similar discipline with focus on analog/mixed circuit designs.

Good find!
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post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I predict this market to be like the tablet market. You have the bulk of the pre-iPad market being Archos and other very portable but limited tablet-like devices. These are the fitness bands. They are cheaper than their "smart" counterparts and are designed for limited tasks. For Archos is was entertainment and fitness bands it was, well, fitness. The other end were these smart-er devices. With tablets it was shoehorning a full desktop OS into a laptop with a touchscreen (see any number of WinTablets and ModBook) but with "smart" watches it's trying to replicate features of a smartphone.

When Apple releases a wearable they won't call it a smartwatch or brand it smart-anything. I think it will be an accessory device for your iPhone. I think it will somewhere between a fitness band and smartwatch in capability and excel in the capabilities it does have… like the iPad.

Note that only this year we finally started seeing smartwatches that appear to follow that trend. This, too, is like the tablet market right before Apple announced the iPad when Android-based tablets riddled CES. More the right track for a mobile device but still not optimized well for the HW and interface.

You could be absolutely right. Or, it could be like netbooks: Apple simply doesn't go there.
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post #24 of 38

Sapphire is not normally capitalized being a gem name like diamond. It does have good UV transmission down to the UVB band, unlike borosilicate glass or most plastics which do not. Pure silica glass is better but Apple did not build a new silica plant. A health watch has some interest to me, but I know devices like Fitbit work better on the belt then the wrist as far as counting steps and that sort of thing. Heart monitoring, UV exposure that sort of thing would be better on the wrist. In that market it would have to be cheap and have good battery life, a little more than $100 would be OK, it would have to do a lot more to justify many hundreds.

post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

You could be absolutely right. Or, it could be like netbooks: Apple simply doesn't go there.

That would be like sticking the Galaxy Gear watch into a device the size of a medium button and telling people it does everything a smartwatch does because it uses a "real" OS. 1biggrin.gif

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #26 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


All one can do is laugh at a rumor like this. The only way Apple would be building 65M of a wearable device is if it was being included with an iPhone. I highly doubt that is happening.

No no.... they'd need way more than 65M iWatches to give one away with every iPhone.  I'm thinking it's more of a promotion.  Buy 3 iPhones, get an iWatch for free type of deal.

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post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Not to be that guy but Sapphire is not glass.

 

It's okay, you don't have to be that guy.  Just use this definition: a hard usually transparent material that is used for making windows and other products.  

 

See, nothing in that definition of glass about amorphous nature, not being crystalline, not being made from silicates, or any other sapphire disqualifying aspects.  Don't be that guy!  :-)


Edited by RadarTheKat - 4/8/14 at 11:15am
I have enough money to last the rest of my life. Unless I buy something. - Jackie Mason
Never own anything that poops. - RadarTheKat
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I have enough money to last the rest of my life. Unless I buy something. - Jackie Mason
Never own anything that poops. - RadarTheKat
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post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


There is however a considerable difference between building a line suitable for that production number and actually producing that many ahead of time. Given the right type of automation they could have a production line capable of spitting out 65 million a quarter. Depending upon what this iWatch actually is and the methods used to manufacture it, fabrication may require a fair amount of automation just to make it possible.

 

Or if it's a multi-piece device.  Thinking watch band, with integrated battery and perhaps kinetic-energy charging, in multiple sizes and colors/designs.  Then the iWatch body, with the smarts and display.  So out of a total 65 million components, maybe 15 million are the iWatch body and the other 50 million are the bands?  Just a thought.

 

Oh, and hey, what if the band contained use-specific sensors.  You're diabetic?  Buy the diabetes monitoring band.  Like to run or spend time outdoors, get the fitness band with UV monitoring.  Just want the watch as a means of getting text/phone/email alerts and other things that all of the iWatches will do?  Get the band that doesn't include sensors.

I have enough money to last the rest of my life. Unless I buy something. - Jackie Mason
Never own anything that poops. - RadarTheKat
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post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Not to be that guy but Sapphire is not glass.

Nor is Google's ridiculous head mounted display.

post #30 of 38
65M to most people represents 65,000. 65MM represents 65,000,000.

CPM - cost per thousand
M - thousand
M$ - thousands of dollars
MCF - thousand cubic feet
MM - million
MM$ - millions of dollars
MMCF - million cubic feet
etc.
post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Hmm...interesting recent Apple job posting. I wonder what "new system platform" means?

New System Platform Developer and Prototyping

Job Number: 32838240San Francisco, California, United StatesPosted: Apr. 7, 2014Weekly Hours: 40.00
Job Summary

Apple's Input Devices group is looking for a multi-talented engineer to prototype and develop new system platform. The candidate will be spearheading initiatives to bring concepts to life with demos and prototypes. This includes designing the HW platform (collaborating with sensors and analog designer in the team), developing FW and providing host driver for SW developers to interact. Candidate will further collaborate with UI SW developers to eventually bring the end-end HW-SW demo to life.

Key Qualifications

Candidate is required to have deep understanding of various micro-controllers and FPGA architecture and to be able to pick the best platform for the job.
Strong prototyping experience in HW/FW is required. This includes schematic capture, board layout, board bring up, FW bring up and testing.
Description

Experience in different sensor fusion, filtering, smoothing and calibration algorithm is strongly desired.

Education

Masters or higher degree in Electrical Engineering or similar discipline with focus on analog/mixed circuit designs.

Indeed a nice catch though this publication is a little late to be related to this generation of the iWatch isn't it (given the rumored release date is right)? But maybe for next generations.
post #32 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post


My feelings too. I don't mind fitness being one element of a smartwatch, but if that is its main thrust, I don't think I would bite. There's no great secret to good health: eating in moderation and going for walks. No, an iWatch needs something else, like mobile payments.

Thanks. When I see this screenshot it just seems to extreme for me. If someone is sick then sure, but a normal person shouldn't obsess to this level.

post #33 of 38
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
Thanks. When I see this screenshot it just seems to extreme for me. If someone is sick then sure, but a normal person shouldn't obsess to this level.

 

Eh, I’ll take caring too much over caring too little, particularly with the way things are going.

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post #34 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Eh, I’ll take caring too much over caring too little, particularly with the way things are going.

But caring too much and caring too little are not opposites, they're both the kind of obsession that can lead to eating disorders or over-exercising.

post #35 of 38
Originally Posted by ascii View Post
But caring too much and caring too little are not opposites, they're both the kind of obsession that can lead to eating disorders or over-exercising.

 

I’d far prefer to see more people dying of not having enough fat in their heart walls than too much. It’s one step at a time. Literally.

Originally posted by Marvin

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post #36 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I’d far prefer to see more people dying of not having enough fat in their heart walls than too much. It’s one step at a time. Literally.

Oh, I forgot your fight. Well, yes, I bet you would have found an iWatch invaluable then. And millions would today.
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post #37 of 38
To shed some light on potential for iWatch sales, let's look to the context of the world in which the iPod and iPad were launched.

IPod - first year sales of 300,000

The iPod was a product brought out by a company that made computers, had no specific advantage over existing consumer electronics vendors, had no support from iTunes (which didn't yet exist), and had no marketing budget to speak of, at least not compared to what Apple could throw behind a new product intro today. Plus, the world was not exactly expecting Apple to jump in and revolutionize a product category it traditionally did not play within. The iPod represented a product that was familiar to consumers - a portable music player - but also a product that was already well served by existing consumer electronics vendors. So it should be no surprise that iPod sales began somewhat slowly.

IPad - first year sales of 15 million

The iPad represented, to much of the PC/Mac consumer base, an extension of the touch-based UI delivered by the iPhone and other touch phones. For some, but not the majority, it was by 2010 a familiar and, I might conjecture, cool way of interacting with a computer. The iPad faced one significant hurdle in the market; consumers initially didn't understand precisely where this new product would fit in their daily computing habits. So initially the market was skeptical and cautious, but once appropriate use cases were developed and communicated, the iPad was off to the races.

And this case offers a lesson for the iWatch. The iWatch, or any smart watch, needs its niche, an application or use case where it clearly dominates and feels intuitive. I believe Apple has focused on health and fitness for just this reason. It's an area where other offerings have already found some success (FuelBand and others) and an area where Apple's war chest and cash flow allows it to go far beyond what's already out there. And its an area where large markets await (diabetics, athletes and fitness enthusiasts). And like the iPad but not the iPod, the iWatch will be introduced into a world with large numbers of eager Apple devotees, with some 600 million+ iTunes accounts and, by the time the iWatch is released, over 600 million iPhones and 300 million iPads sold. That huge customer base could certainly support a very significant first year unit sales volume. 

So, 65 million? I'm not ready to get behind that number, but 15 or 20 million doesn't seem out of bounds to me. I know I'll be getting one, regardless of what it does, as long as it's not a monstrosity like the Galaxy Gear. I trust that Apple has sorted out the market, the use cases, the look and feel, and the UI.
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post #38 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post

And this case offers a lesson for the iWatch. The iWatch, or any smart watch, needs its niche, an application or use case where it clearly dominates and feels intuitive. I believe Apple has focused on health and fitness for just this reason. It's an area where other offerings have already found some success (FuelBand and others) and an area where Apple's war chest and cash flow allows it to go far beyond what's already out there. 

The use cases are really any time that both hands are occupied, and a computer could be helpful. Apple is focussing on exercising, but clever developers will make a list of all human activities where both hands are occupied and try to think of apps that could be useful in that situation and be ready to hit the iWatch App Store on launch day.

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