Analyst: Apple’s iWatch Will Fuel Wearable Tech Market Sales
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White has once again reiterated his belief that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will enter the wearable tech product category this year. White said in a recent note to investors that wearable tech was a “legitimate, new product category” after seeing multiple wearable tech devices at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, reports Apple Insider.
However, in the note obtained by Apple Insider, the analyst also wrote that he didn’t expect sales of wearable tech products to reach a “meaningful” level until Apple enters the market with its long-rumored iWatch. White’s comments echoed an observation recently made by Koru CEO Christian Lindholm, a prominent mobile product designer and wearable tech software expert.
Lindholm suggested that other companies are merely priming the wearable tech market for Apple’s eventual entry. “Consumer electronics companies led by Samsung (SSNLF.PK) build market awareness,” said Lindholm, per Apple Insider. “Apple enters with a big bang.”
Similarly, White told Bloomberg Radio earlier this month that “A lot of companies will try to enter the wearable tech market early on, but it’s going to take Apple to make it cool.”
White also noted that many of the wearable tech products showcased at CES 2014 were designed to be worn on the wrist. At last year’s All Things D conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that the wrist “is an area for exploration. It is ripe for getting excited about.” Cook also pointed to Nike’s (NYSE:NKE) FuelBand product as an example of a successful piece of wearable technology. The wrist devices seen at CES 2014 and Cook’s earlier comments both appear to give credence to the rumors that Apple is developing an iWatch.
White is not the only analyst who is banking on an Apple iWatch in 2014. DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh also predicted that Apple will release the iWatch, in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Some industry commentators believe the iWatch will include health-monitoring biometric functions. Well-connected Apple commentator Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac cited insider sources that reported that Apple had assembled a wearable tech product development team that included medical sensor specialists, fitness professionals, and battery efficiency experts.
According to an unconfirmed report from the Taiwan-based DigiTimes, Apple has already commenced a trial manufacturing run for the iWatch. DigiTimes cited “upstream supply chain” sources who reported the unnamed iWatch manufacturer had encountered production problems related to the device’s “metal injection molded,” or “MIM,” chassis.