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Apple to sell 15 million Watch devices this year – analysts

Traditionally, first generation Apple devices do not sell very well for various reasons. However, the situation could be different with the Apple Watch. Analysts from Strategy Analytics believe that the consumer electronics giant may sell a rather massive amount of its smartwatches already this year, outselling all other manufacturers of similar devices combined.

According to the latest study from Strategy Analytics, the Apple Watch smartwatch will ship over 15 million units worldwide this year. It is expected that Apple will rapidly become the globe’s number one smartwatch vendor with 55 per cent global market share in 2015. In total, Strategy Analytics forecasts, there will be 28.1 million smartwatch devices sold this year.

“We forecast total global smartwatch shipments to grow 511 per cent from 4.6 million units in 2014 to 28.1 million units in 2015,” said Cliff Raskind, director at Strategy Analytics. “Most of the smartwatch growth will come from the new Apple Watch, which we forecast to ship 15.4 million units worldwide in 2015.”

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Sales of first-generation Apple devices are typically not high and in many cases such products even cannot address the company’s loyal fan base. This happened to the original iPhone, first-gen Apple TV, iPad and even iPod. This is not something unique about Apple as many innovative high-tech companies fail to make perfect products from scratch.

However, with Apple Watch the situation could be different from traditional both in terms of quality of the device and in terms of sales. Firstly, it took Apple over three years to develop its Watch and in the process the company hired a lot of people from fashion business, who know how to create things that last longer than tech gadgets. Secondly, with its Watch, Apple addresses a number of very conservative markets that will hardly forgive too frequent upgrades, hence, the first-gen Watch should either be upgradeable or remain on the market for at least a couple of years. Thirdly, due to massive hype in the media and early unveiling of the design and some features, loads of people will at least consider buying Apple Watch.

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But while Apple most probably wanted to perfect its first-gen Watch, there are still technological limitations of what is possible to do in high volume today. Therefore, second-generation Apple Watch is something unavoidable. The only question is when it is set to arrive.

“Apple’s first-generation Watch is not yet perfect,” said Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics. “For example, Apple’s Watch hardware design is arguably less attractive than some rival models such as the Huawei Watch, battery life may not be as long as many traditional wristwatch owners are used to, and Apple’s premium pricing may be challenging for mass-market consumers. Apple will need to upgrade tangibly its second-generation Watch to stay ahead of competitors later this year.”

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Since Apple anxiously wants to enter the market of fashion accessories with its Watch, the company will inevitably face many dilemmas going forward. Given the price of the Watch and Watch Edition, it is impossible to release new models every year as it may be considered as a sign of disrespect to customers. However, Apple cannot sell the same model for years, like traditional watchmakers. Therefore, the company should introduce some kind of an upgrade service for its Watch devices, something that it does not traditionally do on other markets. Alternatively, Apple could release new collections of Apple Watch devices, like Vertu does with its phones. New collections with new design and functionality should attract existing as well as new customers. Broad product families are also something completely new to Apple.

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant will start to ship the first-generation Apple Watch this April.

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KitGuru Says: It will be tremendously interesting to learn more about Apple’s Watch on the 9th of March, when the company plans to finally reveal all the details about the device. Make sure to visit KitGuru that day.

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