Gartner Thinks that the Apple Watch will trigger more Consumer Interest in the Wearables Space in 2015
Gartner is predicting that by 2016 smartwatches will comprise about 40 percent of consumer wrist worn devices. Gartner said that seven 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. But let's be honest here, all eyes will be on the Apple Watch and whether or not they'll be able to convince consumers to return to a day when wearing a wristwatch was commonplace. Will Apple be able to pull that off in 2015? Only time will tell.
Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner noted in her report that "Apple has finally unveiled its Apple Watch, which we expect to trigger more consumer interest once it starts shipping in 2015. Apple introduced three smartwatch models that will sell at a wide price range, with the lowest starting at $349. As with the iPhone, Apple's high-price strategy for the Watch will limit its market share; yet, with its attention to design and the user interface, we believe this product will attract many users."
Annette Zimmermann, another research director at Gartner weighed in by stating that "The Sony Smartwatch products and the Samsung Gear were early products that received much attention in the press but less enthusiasm from consumers due to their unclear value proposition and flawed design.
Zimmermann added that "In 2014 we are seeing a few more positive developments in terms of design and user experience (UX) and we therefore expect consumers to show more interest in these products in the second half of the year."
Zimmermann pointed out that the latest smartwatches show much improvement in design compared with earlier smartwatches. In addition, the new smartwatches are adding useful features such as voice search, turn-by-turn navigation, contextual reminders and taking notes via voice input — basically a Google Now experience on a smaller screen.
Apple's Magic will win the Day for "Apple Watch"
In respect to the Apple Watch there's a true slit in opinion at present. Some absolutely love the new designs that Apple is bringing to the modern smartwatch while others say they'll never buy one.
Tim Cook noted in a Bloomberg Businessweek article yesterday that judging a product isn't like judging a movie that played over the weekend. And that's so true. On a personal note, I remember thinking the original iPod design in 2001 was terrible. In the end, I purchased my first iPod in late 2006, which was the seventeenth version that they brought to market. For me, once the iPod display shifted to color and was able to play videos from the likes of U2, I was sold.
Here's Apple's evolutionary iPod chart for you to check out. It clearly shows that Apple has a lot of patience building and refining products over the years until they find that breakthrough that will appeal to the masses. The same can be said about the iPhone. I didn't jump on the first 2007 model, even though Jobs delivered a killer presentation. I waited until the design shift came with the iPhone 4S because I liked the metal band around the iPhone. My wife jumped on board with the debut of the 5S in Gold.
So it's a patience thing. Personally that drives me crazy that a company like Apple with the likes of Jony Ive on their team can't deliver a blowout design right out the gate. In my experience, I've never liked a new Apple product right out of the gate (iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac). I found that the original iMac was a joke and wouldn't touch it if you paid me. Now I own a modern aluminium iMac because Apple honed it to perfection.
But the timing of our individual conversions seems to happen at different times. This is some kind of secret sauce ingredient that Apple has learned over time. They're now masters at it.
Over time, the Apple Watch will get thinner and wow more consumers. Then they'll add an all-new model with a larger and more modern display and win yet another consumer pocket. This is what the Apple machine has done time in and time out since 2001.
So when Gartner or any other research firm moans about market share, again – an argument that's really about the lowest dominator that drives anyone playing that game into a profitless void, I laugh.
Though to be fair this time around, Angela McIntyre did in fact admit they she believes that Apple's attention to design detail and the user interface will attract many. Time will tell whether the Apple Watch will "attract many" or completely obliterate all recent smartwatch records.
Of course I believe it will be the latter as do most Apple fans – but only time will tell. But one thing that I think that Gartner got dead wrong is their prediction that by 2016 smartwatches will comprise only around 40 percent of consumer wrist worn devices. I think that Apple will flip that prediction upside down and sideways. With Apple's three tier market approach that includes "Watch Sport" and "Watch Edition", I think that they'll put the smartwatch on the winning side of Gartner's equation.
And while I certainly won't be standing in line for an Apple Watch for myself in 2015, I'm certainly going to be buying the model noted below for my wife who lit up like a Christmas tree when seeing it presented during the Apple Event of September ninth. And this is something that Samsung and their merry men have yet to figure out and likely never will.
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