Just another iLaunch, or a new line in the sand?

Apple has fulfilled many promises, but will this translate to tangible gains?

Tags: Apple IncorporatedUSAWearable device
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Just another iLaunch, or a new line in the sand? Stephen McBride, Editor, ITP.net.
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 10, 2014

"Apple aims to reset the wearable market and make 2014 year zero for wearables, as 2007 became the start of the true smartphone market because of the iPhone," says IHS's Fogg. "But moving into a new category is a bold, expensive and risky effort. This Apple Watch is a first generation device, whether it is successful or not, Apple will aim to iterate and make it a must have companion for every iPhone owner."

Depending on just how seductive the Watch is with consumers, the smartphone and wearables categories may both be affected. In the interim, Samsung may say that Apple's wearable remains a companion device and that Samsung has moved on to standalones with the Gear S. But this would assume that consumers badly want a smart wrist device that can go it alone.

"The Apple Watch will at first have a chilling effect on competitors, followed by a spike in sales upon launch," posits Enrique Velasco-Castillo, digital economy analyst at Analysys Mason. "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 the first quarter of 2015. Analysys Mason expects just under 1m smartwatches to have sold by the end of 2014; this will leap to 13.6m sales in 2015 following the Apple Watch launch."

The analyst verdict on Apple's new wares is broadly optimistic. The Watch's Digital Crown GUI lives comfortably on a device of that size and Apple has apparently unleashed a wearable that is actually functional, rather than being just an aesthetic novelty.

"Apple CEO Tim Cook was ebullient, looser and more comfortable in public than we have ever seen, as he answered the question of whether Apple can continue to innovate and lead without Steve Jobs," said TBR's Gottheil. "TBR believes the answer is ‘yes it can'."

Maybe so. Perhaps the maestro is back.

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