Fueled by Apple Watch sales growth, smartwatches take over wearables market

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited August 2017
The wearable market is at a tipping point, with smartwatch sales showing strong growth on the back of popular devices like Apple Watch, while basic fitness bands slumped for the first time, according to fresh segment statistics.




In its latest Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker report, market research firm IDC saw a substantial 60.9 percent uptick in smartwatch sales during the second quarter of 2017.

The tracked smartwatch growth comes as the popularity of basic wearables like step counters and health trackers fades. Over the past quarter, shipments of fitness bands and other rudimentary devices incapable of running apps fell 0.9 percent, the first decline detected by IDC.

"The transition towards more intelligent and feature-filled wearables is in full swing," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "For years, rudimentary fitness trackers have acted as a gateway to smartwatches and now we're at a point where brands and consumers are graduating to a more sophisticated device. Previous niche features such as GPS and additional health tracking capabilities are quickly becoming staples of the modern smartwatch."

Chinese upstart Xiaomi maintained its lead in the second quarter, capturing 13.4 percent of the market on 3.5 million units shipped, up 13.7 percent on the year.

Apple exhibited strong growth after the release of Apple Watch Series 2, a revamped version of the tech giant's original wearable that places an emphasis on health and fitness. Watch took 13 percent of the overall wearables market in quarter two, shipping 3.4 million units over the three-month period, IDC said. That figure is up 49.7 percent from the same time last year.

Fitbit, which popularized basic fitness trackers, fell precipitously from first to third place over the past year. The firm managed the same 3.4 million unit shipments recorded by Apple in the second quarter, but took 12.9 percent of the market, down from 5.7 million shipments and a 24.1 percent share in 2016.

Responding to IDC's findings, a Fitbit spokesperson said the company remains "the leading global wearable brand of choice," noting its wide selection of device offerings has resulted in more than 67 million units sold. The firm touted its new smartwatch, the Fitbit Ionic, saying the device delivers a feature set never before seen in a smartwatch product.

"With the introduction of a new relative SpO2 sensor that could be used in the future to track health issues such as sleep apnea, Ionic also delivers on Fitbit's commitment to develop innovative technologies that drive positive health outcomes, helping to transition wearables from a 'nice to have' to a 'need to have,'" Fitbit said.

Rounding out the top five on IDC's list were Garmin and Fossil, which managed 5.4 percent and 4 percent of the total wearables market, respectively.

Apple is expected to announce a new Apple Watch version at its special iPhone launch event on Sept. 12. The rumored device is anticipated to be Apple's first with LTE connectivity, a major feature addition that will help cast the device as a standalone product rather than an iPhone accessory.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    Xiaomi wearables are single purpose step counters which cost $20

    Perhaps that is a relevant data point for an article about wearables that calls out their "lead" 
    stanthemanlolliverRayz2016watto_cobraSpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 16
    "Despite significant growth, overall market share of Ferrari is still being outperformed by Ford. See, it's written here in this table, and all have four wheels, so it must be true."

    Statistics at their best. 
    StrangeDayslolliverRayz2016watto_cobralkruppanton zuykov
  • Reply 3 of 16
    I want to know what the "other" category is. I think it may be best titled "unknown", which is Apple... putting Apple at around 67% of sales in numbers, and at 95% of profit dollars...
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    As usual, whether it's 'MP3' players, smartphones, tablets, wireless headphones, or wearables, it has pretty much become a given that it takes Apple to define the market.

    Not to mention laptops, solid operating system, good software, mice,....
    lolliverwatto_cobralkrupp
  • Reply 5 of 16
    red oak said:
    Xiaomi wearables are single purpose step counters which cost $20

    Perhaps that is a relevant data point for an article about wearables that calls out their "lead" 
    more like $5 with bands as little as 50cents each. They do a little more than step counting though - sleep monitoring, heart rate monitoring etc.

    Still ridiculous to compare to an Apple Watch, even if they ARE together in this broad "wearables" category, no one would compares sales of a casio to a tag heuer for example.
  • Reply 6 of 16
    There are a number of threads that will be driving this market:
    1)  The coming transition from our DiseaseCare system to a HealthCare system.   For the past 100 years, our system has been increasingly focused on diagnosing and treating diseases -- which is a bit like mopping the floor instead of turning off the tap to the clogged sink.  That paradigm has run its course.   The future of health care will, of necessity, be focused on promoting health rather than treating disease.

    2)  The extension of that will focus on lifestyle and which lifestyles best promote health.  That science is in its infancy -- largely because our research has mostly focused on treating diseases with pills & procedures.

    3)  The advent of technology that enable high tech devices (such as the Apple Watch) to monitor and promote healthy lifestyles.  This can and will extend to real time monitoring of lifestyle factors by healthcare professionals and researchers -- something that has never before been realistically possible for large populations.

    But, the food industry, pharmaceutical industry, medical device industry and large healthcare providers (major hospital systems, etc) will be fighting it tooth and nail because they know that their survival depends on maintaining the status quo:   people living unhealthy lifestyles but being kept alive through the "miracle of modern medicine"
  • Reply 7 of 16
    "Despite significant growth, overall market share of Ferrari is still being outperformed by Ford. See, it's written here in this table, and all have four wheels, so it must be true."

    Statistics at their best. 
    It is not a fault of statistics, though, but more a fault of people who do not understand it and its limitations.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    We here at AppleInsider tend to take an Apple centric approach to evaluating competitor's products.  But, the Apple Watch has plenty of capable competitors -- both in the low end as well as the high end competitors.  The following are evaluations from Runner's World on the various smart watches/fitness trackers out there.   Notice that they use a different set of criteria than what we typically see here at AppleInsider.

    10 Basic Watches for runners:
    https://www.runnersworld.com/gps-watches/10-basic-watches-for-runners
    16 Advanced Watches for runners
    https://www.runnersworld.com/gps-watches/16-advanced-gps-watches-for-runners/slide/5

    While Runners are clearly a major target for the Apple Watch, it is, according to running experts just one out of 26 and not a stand out that!  

    No, I'm not trying to trash the Apple Watch -- I own one and I love it.  But I also realize that, at least for running, there are others out there that could be considered superior.   That's not me talking -- that's the experts of the running world.  We can argue with their criteria and we can argue with their evaluation.  But, this is the information being fed to serious runners:  The Apple Watch is just one of 26 options and not even a standout -- and the Series 1 doesn't even get an honorable mention.

    But, it should be mentioned that the Apple Watch does a lot more too:  I was in my running store yesterday buying a new pair of running shoes.  One or two seconds after the manager rang up the sale on the cash register my Apple Watch dinged with message saying a charge of $99 had been placed on my charge card.  The manager got a long face on and said:  "My watch won't do that!"


  • Reply 9 of 16
    Ha ha. People criticizing analysts for not changing their pre-existing definitions and standards to fit Apple are hilarious. So is claiming that devices like the Mi Band should not count because they are cheap dumb devices that merely track steps and not devices having an operating system and CPU more powerful than what could have been found on $2500 personal computers 15 years ago.

    Well, sorry guys, "cheap dumb devices that merely track steps" were pedometers. Some pedometers were cheap enough to be given away for free at McDonald's with every order of one of their terrible salads - back when McDonald's was being sued for causing obesity and heart/stroke problems and tried to reinvent themselves as healthy - but a lot of them were very sophisticated multi-function devices, and quite expensive. However, they DID NOT connect to smartphones (or tablets or computers) to transfer data that could be analyzed by applications/platforms like HealthKit or HomeKit (if Apple allowed them to that is) or could be uploaded into the cloud. ONLY actual wearables allow that, and so long as they meet that definition they qualify. This has been the case ever since the "wearables" category was created ... computing devices that are worn that have meaningful computing functions but lack the traditional UX/UI of computers. It is also why cheap fitness trackers are in the wearables category but Crutchfield bluetooth headphones that cost not only far more than an Apple Watch, but also far more than a Mac Mini, an iPad and the entry level MacBook Air don't count as wearables either.

    The same is true of other categories. Set top boxes? Includes everything from the Roku Stick - which can be had for as little as $20 on Black Friday - to the $299 Nvidia Shield Pro. I don't hear anyone complaining that the $149 Apple TV should not be compared to the Nvidia Shield Pro that costs twice as much, is powerful enough to be used as a server, and outputs 4K video. Or how about a category that Apple defined? The iPod during its heyday ranged in price from $35 to FAR MORE than what the Apple Watch costs today. (And no, the iPod Shuffle WAS NOT a smart device and neither was the Nano and the other far more expensive ones. Only the iPod Touch models were.) Yet no Apple fan claimed that the humble Shuffle shouldn't be compared to other MP3 players, and didn't even when the iPod Touch and the other competitors that also had Wi-Fi connections and ran full blown operating systems with apps came out.

    Or PCs. Yes, Apple fans claim that $199 Chromebooks and bargain basement Windows PCs shouldn't be compared to their far more expensive MacBook Pros. (Or if they are, then Apple's $300 or more iPads should be). Fine ... but why should a $499 Mac Mini - which used to start at $399 - be considered a computer when a Mac Pro can cost as much as $9600, thousands more than a great many enterprise servers in data centers? For a slightly less ridiculous comparison, the Mac Pro starts at $2999. The iMac starts at $1200. Yet I don't hear anyone claiming that Mac Mini sales should be excluded from these analyses so that we can get "apples to apples" comparisons? Or that of the MacBook Air, even though you can currently get one for less than $575 at Wal-Mart's Labor Day sale.

    Look, MAYBE had Apple INVENTED the wearables market, or even DEFINED it the way that they did the MP3 player market, you would have the case that people shouldn't be able to create $20 devices with very limited feature sets and call them wearables. Look, that essentially did happen with the smartphone industry. Before the iPhone, devices that were considered "smartphones" were far simpler, especially the Windows CE and Blackberry devices, but now a smartphone has to be a device that could literally be used as a computer - and would be more powerful and versatile than older personal computers - if it were connected to a monitor and keyboard/mouse. But this isn't the case here. The wearables category existed long before Apple entered it. What is more, wearables are themselves merely a subcategory of the IoT category. The IoT category really pretty much is "anything that can be networked but isn't a PC, video game console, streaming media player, MP3 player, smartphone or printer." Basically, if you can be placed on a network and were invented - or became common - after the iPhone you are an IoT device. And if you are an IoT device that can be worn, you are a wearable.

    People aren't going to go back and redefine "IoT" as something that is running iOS or something similar like Android, ChromeOS or Windows 10 just because Apple is selling watches, because the IoT category is projected to be huge and revolutionize computing, and technology generally. Because here is the deal: while Apple has spent the last 8 or 9 years making devices more complex by adding more sophisticated software and features and charging as much as they can for them - compare the first iPhone to the iPhone 8 - the IoT scene is doing precisely the opposite. They are trying to pack as much meaningful functionality into devices that are as simple and cheap and possible. The goal isn't to have these $400 general purpose devices that are more powerful than a 2002 MacBook and then force developers and IT people to come up with ways to use them. The goal is to spread as many $20 specialized devices as possible and have them connected to client devices like PCs and smartphones - essentially turning them into middleware I guess - who themselves connect to platforms in the cloud in the backend that make the data being collected by them useful. An example for you: a connected medical tool. Stethoscope, otoscope, even a scalpel who knows. You don't want to cram watchOS and A8 SOC into that scalpel to add $400 to the price of the device so you can run ARKit on it. (Well maybe you would for medical research but not generally.) You just want a few nano-sensors in the scalpel, and enough smarts in the embedded applications in the OS to collect it and send it over Bluetooth to the surgeon's iPhone, which will transfer it via Wi-Fi to some medical data platform. So you can laugh at FItBit's problems, although their main problem - as was the problem with JawBone and Pebble - is that they are too small to survive, and they really should exist as divisions of larger companies. Xiaomi sells FitBit/JawBone type devices as part of their much larger operations and are doing fine, and Google should have bought FitBit or JawBone instead of buying Nest and trotting out Android Wear (Xiaomi looked into releasing an Android Wear device and smartly decided against it, though they did eventually make an Android TV box instead). But most of the action in IoT, most of the R&D, are into devices that are a lot more similar to the Mi Band than they are the Apple Watch. And most of the resulting IoT products won't be things commercially available for consumers, but will instead be devices used by enterprises in areas like healthcare and manufacturing. You know, the same areas where robots are actually commercially viable and have been for decades. Meanwhile the only successful consumer robot - other than toys and even robot toys aren't that popular - is basically the Roomba.

    THAT is why analysts aren't going to limit their "analysis" to things that directly compete with products that Apple chooses to make. The IoT/wearables market is a lot broader and deeper than what Apple chooses to make money on at any given moment. An area of research right now: wearable circuits that can be applied to the skin like long term - but not permanent - tattoos (meaning that you can wash it off if you want/need) to. It is meant to replace the RFID chip thing that never really caught on. I don't think that Apple is ever going to come out with a competitor to that, but you would be nuts to think that analysts should ignore it from their discussion. Think of the applications (ignore the pun) ... it could replace the armbands that hospitals put on patients. And you want a health sensor that can ACCURATELY collect sleep, heart rate, blood sugar etc. info well nothing is going to beat something painted right on your skin, and can be painted anywhere on the body that it needs to go in order to gather the best data and not just on the wrist. But yeah, because it doesn't have watchOS and can't run Angry Birds analysts should ignore it, right?

    Look, there is being an Apple fan on one hand - which is fine for this blog - but being a tech researcher/analyst on the other, and that is what companies like IDC and Gartner are SUPPOSED to be doing.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 10 of 16
    "Despite significant growth, overall market share of Ferrari is still being outperformed by Ford. See, it's written here in this table, and all have four wheels, so it must be true."

    Statistics at their best. 
    It is not a fault of statistics, though, but more a fault of people who do not understand it and its limitations.
    That's actually what I meant to say. 
  • Reply 11 of 16
    Ha ha. People criticizing analysts for not changing their pre-existing definitions and standards to fit Apple are hilarious. So is claiming that devices like the Mi Band should not count because they are cheap dumb devices that merely track steps and not devices having an operating system and CPU more powerful than what could have been found on $2500 personal computers 15 years ago.  ...

    ....
    With the Apple Watch, Apple has ventured into an arena with no ceiling and no walls... 
    The AW is:  a fashion trinket, a techy trinket, a fitness tracker, an exercise monitor, a health monitor, and...   Well, there's the point:  it's that and, and, and, and -- and on for seemingly ever...

    To master and dominate that arena will take somebody who can master not only the technological side of CPU's and OLED's but the functional/design side.  Make it work for people.  Steve Jobs was the undisputed master of both:   there were better technicians and there were better designers -- but nobody could master the combination of the two like Steve.

    Will Apple be able to duplicate his feats?   Or, will it be just another strong contender in the "wearable" market? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Ha ha. People criticizing analysts for not changing their pre-existing definitions and standards to fit Apple are hilarious. So is claiming that devices like the Mi Band should not count because they are cheap dumb devices that merely track steps and not devices having an operating system and CPU more powerful than what could have been found on $2500 personal computers 15 years ago.

    Well, sorry guys, "cheap dumb devices that merely track steps" were pedometers. Some pedometers were cheap enough to be given away for free at McDonald's with every order of one of their terrible salads - back when McDonald's was being sued for causing obesity and heart/stroke problems and tried to reinvent themselves as healthy - but a lot of them were very sophisticated multi-function devices, and quite expensive. However, they DID NOT connect to smartphones (or tablets or computers) to transfer data that could be analyzed by applications/platforms like HealthKit or HomeKit (if Apple allowed them to that is) or could be uploaded into the cloud. ONLY actual wearables allow that, and so long as they meet that definition they qualify. This has been the case ever since the "wearables" category was created ... computing devices that are worn that have meaningful computing functions but lack the traditional UX/UI of computers. It is also why cheap fitness trackers are in the wearables category but Crutchfield bluetooth headphones that cost not only far more than an Apple Watch, but also far more than a Mac Mini, an iPad and the entry level MacBook Air don't count as wearables either.

    The same is true of other categories. Set top boxes? Includes everything from the Roku Stick - which can be had for as little as $20 on Black Friday - to the $299 Nvidia Shield Pro. I don't hear anyone complaining that the $149 Apple TV should not be compared to the Nvidia Shield Pro that costs twice as much, is powerful enough to be used as a server, and outputs 4K video. Or how about a category that Apple defined? The iPod during its heyday ranged in price from $35 to FAR MORE than what the Apple Watch costs today. (And no, the iPod Shuffle WAS NOT a smart device and neither was the Nano and the other far more expensive ones. Only the iPod Touch models were.) Yet no Apple fan claimed that the humble Shuffle shouldn't be compared to other MP3 players, and didn't even when the iPod Touch and the other competitors that also had Wi-Fi connections and ran full blown operating systems with apps came out.

    Or PCs. Yes, Apple fans claim that $199 Chromebooks and bargain basement Windows PCs shouldn't be compared to their far more expensive MacBook Pros. (Or if they are, then Apple's $300 or more iPads should be). Fine ... but why should a $499 Mac Mini - which used to start at $399 - be considered a computer when a Mac Pro can cost as much as $9600, thousands more than a great many enterprise servers in data centers? For a slightly less ridiculous comparison, the Mac Pro starts at $2999. The iMac starts at $1200. Yet I don't hear anyone claiming that Mac Mini sales should be excluded from these analyses so that we can get "apples to apples" comparisons? Or that of the MacBook Air, even though you can currently get one for less than $575 at Wal-Mart's Labor Day sale.

    Look, MAYBE had Apple INVENTED the wearables market, or even DEFINED it the way that they did the MP3 player market, you would have the case that people shouldn't be able to create $20 devices with very limited feature sets and call them wearables. Look, that essentially did happen with the smartphone industry. Before the iPhone, devices that were considered "smartphones" were far simpler, especially the Windows CE and Blackberry devices, but now a smartphone has to be a device that could literally be used as a computer - and would be more powerful and versatile than older personal computers - if it were connected to a monitor and keyboard/mouse. But this isn't the case here. The wearables category existed long before Apple entered it. What is more, wearables are themselves merely a subcategory of the IoT category. The IoT category really pretty much is "anything that can be networked but isn't a PC, video game console, streaming media player, MP3 player, smartphone or printer." Basically, if you can be placed on a network and were invented - or became common - after the iPhone you are an IoT device. And if you are an IoT device that can be worn, you are a wearable.

    People aren't going to go back and redefine "IoT" as something that is running iOS or something similar like Android, ChromeOS or Windows 10 just because Apple is selling watches, because the IoT category is projected to be huge and revolutionize computing, and technology generally. Because here is the deal: while Apple has spent the last 8 or 9 years making devices more complex by adding more sophisticated software and features and charging as much as they can for them - compare the first iPhone to the iPhone 8 - the IoT scene is doing precisely the opposite. They are trying to pack as much meaningful functionality into devices that are as simple and cheap and possible. The goal isn't to have these $400 general purpose devices that are more powerful than a 2002 MacBook and then force developers and IT people to come up with ways to use them. The goal is to spread as many $20 specialized devices as possible and have them connected to client devices like PCs and smartphones - essentially turning them into middleware I guess - who themselves connect to platforms in the cloud in the backend that make the data being collected by them useful. An example for you: a connected medical tool. Stethoscope, otoscope, even a scalpel who knows. You don't want to cram watchOS and A8 SOC into that scalpel to add $400 to the price of the device so you can run ARKit on it. (Well maybe you would for medical research but not generally.) You just want a few nano-sensors in the scalpel, and enough smarts in the embedded applications in the OS to collect it and send it over Bluetooth to the surgeon's iPhone, which will transfer it via Wi-Fi to some medical data platform. So you can laugh at FItBit's problems, although their main problem - as was the problem with JawBone and Pebble - is that they are too small to survive, and they really should exist as divisions of larger companies. Xiaomi sells FitBit/JawBone type devices as part of their much larger operations and are doing fine, and Google should have bought FitBit or JawBone instead of buying Nest and trotting out Android Wear (Xiaomi looked into releasing an Android Wear device and smartly decided against it, though they did eventually make an Android TV box instead). But most of the action in IoT, most of the R&D, are into devices that are a lot more similar to the Mi Band than they are the Apple Watch. And most of the resulting IoT products won't be things commercially available for consumers, but will instead be devices used by enterprises in areas like healthcare and manufacturing. You know, the same areas where robots are actually commercially viable and have been for decades. Meanwhile the only successful consumer robot - other than toys and even robot toys aren't that popular - is basically the Roomba.

    THAT is why analysts aren't going to limit their "analysis" to things that directly compete with products that Apple chooses to make. The IoT/wearables market is a lot broader and deeper than what Apple chooses to make money on at any given moment. An area of research right now: wearable circuits that can be applied to the skin like long term - but not permanent - tattoos (meaning that you can wash it off if you want/need) to. It is meant to replace the RFID chip thing that never really caught on. I don't think that Apple is ever going to come out with a competitor to that, but you would be nuts to think that analysts should ignore it from their discussion. Think of the applications (ignore the pun) ... it could replace the armbands that hospitals put on patients. And you want a health sensor that can ACCURATELY collect sleep, heart rate, blood sugar etc. info well nothing is going to beat something painted right on your skin, and can be painted anywhere on the body that it needs to go in order to gather the best data and not just on the wrist. But yeah, because it doesn't have watchOS and can't run Angry Birds analysts should ignore it, right?

    Look, there is being an Apple fan on one hand - which is fine for this blog - but being a tech researcher/analyst on the other, and that is what companies like IDC and Gartner are SUPPOSED to be doing.
    That makes these analysts fracking useless then. Good to know where's on the same page huh.

    Analysts lump shit together to sell their reports all the time.
    Your whole river of words is in no way reflective of the garbage they actually put out.
    It's like you are referencing their imaginary output.

    They will lump any old crap together to make a "point", get clicks and move stocks up and down for their real clients. The twits that read those so called reports and act on it in the market are the marks, not the ones that pay the bill.

    In marketing, or when looking at market shares, you don't lump things together which have a different buying public with different demos, and who looking for different products. That's 101 marketing and even business yet analysts do it all the time.

    And no, wearable is not a proper market segment, just like consumer electronics is not  proper market segment. It is a grab bag to dumb their stock manipulating crap into.

    edited September 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Ha ha. People criticizing analysts for not changing their pre-existing definitions and standards to fit Apple are hilarious. So is claiming that devices like the Mi Band should not count because they are cheap dumb devices that merely track steps and not devices having an operating system and CPU more powerful than what could have been found on $2500 personal computers 15 years ago.  ...

    ....
    With the Apple Watch, Apple has ventured into an arena with no ceiling and no walls... 
    The AW is:  a fashion trinket, a techy trinket, a fitness tracker, an exercise monitor, a health monitor, and...   Well, there's the point:  it's that and, and, and, and -- and on for seemingly ever...

    To master and dominate that arena will take somebody who can master not only the technological side of CPU's and OLED's but the functional/design side.  Make it work for people.  Steve Jobs was the undisputed master of both:   there were better technicians and there were better designers -- but nobody could master the combination of the two like Steve.

    Will Apple be able to duplicate his feats?   Or, will it be just another strong contender in the "wearable" market? 
    The key in selling into wearables is not selling a product, but an experience. A wearable is part of your life. In a way, a phone is a wearable (this was not the case initially).
    People have this thing in their hands, or in their pockets all day long. They're married to their phone.
    So, Apple sells a lot of them because they understood that the key to selling is augmenting the user experience and not subsuming it.
    Gizmo tech gadgetery was all about the gizmo and not the person using it and his need.

    Apple doesn't want to sell products by life enhancers; that's were the whole ecosystem comes in.
    For this to work, the products have to work together seemlessly so the tech can get out of the way and blend and become embedded into every aspect of his life.
    The difference between taking a warm bath and having to wash yourself with a bucket of water and a wash clothes :-).
    watto_cobraGeorgeBMacMacPro
  • Reply 14 of 16
    foggyhill said:
    Ha ha. People criticizing analysts for not changing their pre-existing definitions and standards to fit Apple are hilarious. So is claiming that devices like the Mi Band should not count because they are cheap dumb devices that merely track steps and not devices having an operating system and CPU more powerful than what could have been found on $2500 personal computers 15 years ago.  ...

    ....
    With the Apple Watch, Apple has ventured into an arena with no ceiling and no walls... 
    The AW is:  a fashion trinket, a techy trinket, a fitness tracker, an exercise monitor, a health monitor, and...   Well, there's the point:  it's that and, and, and, and -- and on for seemingly ever...

    To master and dominate that arena will take somebody who can master not only the technological side of CPU's and OLED's but the functional/design side.  Make it work for people.  Steve Jobs was the undisputed master of both:   there were better technicians and there were better designers -- but nobody could master the combination of the two like Steve.

    Will Apple be able to duplicate his feats?   Or, will it be just another strong contender in the "wearable" market? 
    The key in selling into wearables is not selling a product, but an experience. A wearable is part of your life. In a way, a phone is a wearable (this was not the case initially).
    People have this thing in their hands, or in their pockets all day long. They're married to their phone.
    So, Apple sells a lot of them because they understood that the key to selling is augmenting the user experience and not subsuming it.
    Gizmo tech gadgetery was all about the gizmo and not the person using it and his need.

    Apple doesn't want to sell products by life enhancers; that's were the whole ecosystem comes in.
    For this to work, the products have to work together seemlessly so the tech can get out of the way and blend and become embedded into every aspect of his life.
    The difference between taking a warm bath and having to wash yourself with a bucket of water and a wash clothes :-).
    Yep!  Apple under Jobs, the master, proved that and demonstrated that...
    ...  The question though remains:  Can Apple still do it?

    It is the most difficult of paths because it involves walking different paths all at one time (conquering the tech to make it serve the design) -- instead of a "jack of all trades and master of none" it requires being master of both tech and design (which both encompass multiple threads)...
  • Reply 15 of 16
    We here at AppleInsider tend to take an Apple centric approach to evaluating competitor's products.  But, the Apple Watch has plenty of capable competitors -- both in the low end as well as the high end competitors.  The following are evaluations from Runner's World on the various smart watches/fitness trackers out there.   Notice that they use a different set of criteria than what we typically see here at AppleInsider.

    10 Basic Watches for runners:
    https://www.runnersworld.com/gps-watches/10-basic-watches-for-runners
    16 Advanced Watches for runners
    https://www.runnersworld.com/gps-watches/16-advanced-gps-watches-for-runners/slide/5

    While Runners are clearly a major target for the Apple Watch, it is, according to running experts just one out of 26 and not a stand out that!  

    No, I'm not trying to trash the Apple Watch -- I own one and I love it.  But I also realize that, at least for running, there are others out there that could be considered superior.   That's not me talking -- that's the experts of the running world.  We can argue with their criteria and we can argue with their evaluation.  But, this is the information being fed to serious runners:  The Apple Watch is just one of 26 options and not even a standout -- and the Series 1 doesn't even get an honorable mention.

    But, it should be mentioned that the Apple Watch does a lot more too:  I was in my running store yesterday buying a new pair of running shoes.  One or two seconds after the manager rang up the sale on the cash register my Apple Watch dinged with message saying a charge of $99 had been placed on my charge card.  The manager got a long face on and said:  "My watch won't do that!"


    The AW1 was a non-starter for most runners due to the lack of stand alone GPS. AW2 has GPS but battery life stills holds it back for watch that most will expect to serve as an all day watch and something to log a daily run.

    I'm an avid Apple user but I wear a Garmin FR735 for all day wear and tracking my runs, cycling, and yoga. I tend to get 4-5 days of use which includes 1-2 hours of GPS usage 6 days a week. Now it's not the most fashionable looking thing to wear around but it's not as bad as older running focused watches were.

    On the 31st Garmin announced the Vivoactive 3 which had the same battery specs as my 735 but is directed more toward the casual exerciser than the hardcore runner. But it incorporates the same Connect IQ that they've had for the last year or two and they've also teamed with a company called FitPay to bring contactless payment to their devices.

    As a smart watch Garmins line will never compete with the AW but as a "clever watch" that gives you notifications with limited apps but complete activity and exercise tracking they're brining a lot to the table.

    Polar is also dipping their toe into the water by releasing a running watch that runs on Android Wear instead of a homegrown OS.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    raggedman said:
    We here at AppleInsider tend to take an Apple centric approach to evaluating competitor's products.  But, the Apple Watch has plenty of capable competitors -- both in the low end as well as the high end competitors.  The following are evaluations from Runner's World on the various smart watches/fitness trackers out there.   Notice that they use a different set of criteria than what we typically see here at AppleInsider.

    10 Basic Watches for runners:
    https://www.runnersworld.com/gps-watches/10-basic-watches-for-runners
    16 Advanced Watches for runners
    https://www.runnersworld.com/gps-watches/16-advanced-gps-watches-for-runners/slide/5

    While Runners are clearly a major target for the Apple Watch, it is, according to running experts just one out of 26 and not a stand out that!  

    No, I'm not trying to trash the Apple Watch -- I own one and I love it.  But I also realize that, at least for running, there are others out there that could be considered superior.   That's not me talking -- that's the experts of the running world.  We can argue with their criteria and we can argue with their evaluation.  But, this is the information being fed to serious runners:  The Apple Watch is just one of 26 options and not even a standout -- and the Series 1 doesn't even get an honorable mention.

    But, it should be mentioned that the Apple Watch does a lot more too:  I was in my running store yesterday buying a new pair of running shoes.  One or two seconds after the manager rang up the sale on the cash register my Apple Watch dinged with message saying a charge of $99 had been placed on my charge card.  The manager got a long face on and said:  "My watch won't do that!"


    The AW1 was a non-starter for most runners due to the lack of stand alone GPS. AW2 has GPS but battery life stills holds it back for watch that most will expect to serve as an all day watch and something to log a daily run.

    I'm an avid Apple user but I wear a Garmin FR735 for all day wear and tracking my runs, cycling, and yoga. I tend to get 4-5 days of use which includes 1-2 hours of GPS usage 6 days a week. Now it's not the most fashionable looking thing to wear around but it's not as bad as older running focused watches were.

    On the 31st Garmin announced the Vivoactive 3 which had the same battery specs as my 735 but is directed more toward the casual exerciser than the hardcore runner. But it incorporates the same Connect IQ that they've had for the last year or two and they've also teamed with a company called FitPay to bring contactless payment to their devices.

    As a smart watch Garmins line will never compete with the AW but as a "clever watch" that gives you notifications with limited apps but complete activity and exercise tracking they're brining a lot to the table.

    Polar is also dipping their toe into the water by releasing a running watch that runs on Android Wear instead of a homegrown OS.
    As runner, I totally disagree with your assessment of the AW gen0 and Series1:   I know the media trashed it for not having GPS (while simultaneously praising others that did not have GPS!).  But the fact is:   both have GPS if you carry your phone.   And the vast majority of runners I know carry their phone -- because it isn't safe to run without one.  Too much can happen out there to be without one.

    As for battery life:   I run almost everyday using my AW gen 0 and only very rarely (once every 2-3 months) does the charge not last the whole day.

    That being said:  The Garmins do make better running watches because their software is better -- such as tracking intervals laps and intervals at the track.  The software available for the AW just doesn't cut it. But, the AW has other advantages that make it my overall choice.
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