What Will the Apple Watch Do to the Fitness Band Market?
The Apple Watch is not set to launch until 2015, but it is already expected to slay its competition.
The number of fitness bands shipped next year is expected to drop, according to the tech research firm Gartner. Smartwatches, sports watches, smart garments and heart rate monitors are expected to take a hit, once the Apple Watch is released. Smart wristband shipments are expected to specifically take a beating.
Gartner attributes the decline in these devices to a temporary shift or dip due to a functionality issue between smart wristbands, fitness trackers and smartwatches. In particular, the Apple Watch, which includes many health features, is expected have a direct and significant impact on the sale of all fitness-related devices.
Apple made its first foray into the smartwatch market by introducing three designs for its very first wearable fitness-tracking device. The company introduced a stainless-steel Apple Watch, an aluminum encased Apple Sport Watch and an 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition. The Apple Watch collection goes on sale early in 2015, with prices starting around $349. In order to operate, the watch must be paired with an iPhone and is compatible with an iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, 6, and 6 Plus.
Announcing the Apple Watch early gives the company two distinct advantages over their competitors. First, it puts the rumors to rest by actually showing consumers what they can expect to get from the Apple Watch. Second, it will put consumers off from purchasing a fitness-tracking device from a rival company (particularly LG, Motorola, Samsung and other rivals who are trying to get a share of the market in smart devices).
The release of the Apple Watch will signal the first new product category from the company since 2010, and consumers are clamoring to know more. In order to stand out among its rivals, Apple will need to revolutionize fitness-tracking equipment.
While fitness wearable devices are hot in 2014, the Apple Watch could cause them to take a beating. However, Gartner expects other brands to rebound in 2016, because of versatile designs and lower costs.