Apple Pushes Overall Smart Watch Sales Up 21%
May 15, 2017
According to Strategy Analytics, Apple shipped 3.5 million wearables in the first quarter of 2017, 59.1 percent higher than the 2.2 million devices it did in the same period last year and captured 15.9 percent share as the former leader, Fitbit, dropped into the third position. Fitbit shipped 2.9 million devices in Q117, 35.6 percent less than the 4.5 million units it moved in the first quarter of 2016. Even Xiaomi sold more devices, putting moving up to second place.
Table 1: Worldwide Smart Watch Shipments
Source: Strategy Analytics
The results are consistent with Apple's latest earnings report, in which the company said its Watch and TV sales jumped up 31 percent year-over-year, as Tim Cook said Watch sales have nearly doubled since last year. There's less and less demand for Fitbit's bands, perhaps due to the increasing number of sports-oriented smartwatch options for buyers, among other factors. Its attempt to enter the smartwatch market was also late and underwhelming. While Fitbit still sold the most wearables late last year, it was already in trouble by the beginning of 2017. It had to cut 110 jobs in January, which was 6 percent of its workforce. In an attempt to recapture part of the market it lost, Fitbit is reportedly preparing to release a new smartwatch and a pair of wireless headphones in the fall.
A new prototype device called Cito could change the smart watch landscape as it can rotate, lift, and twist.
Figure 1: Cito Watch Prototype (1)
Figure 2: Cito Watch Prototype (2)
Figure 3: Cito Watch Prototype (3)
The extra mechanisms are intended to give smartwatches a much broader range of capabilities. For example, the watch face could orbit around the arm when the wrist is facing away, or lift up from its casing if to show someone else the time. For those moments when the hands are full and shirtsleeves are down, the watch face can slide out until it's in view. Another example demonstrated by the research team was the constant rotation of the watch face for an emergency call. The display could even rotate and point out directions to help navigate around, while keeping messages and other information the right way up and readable. Different notifications could also be associated with different movements.
When needed, different movements (or "actuations") can be combined, and driving the research was an intention to improve the way data is presented to the wearer. The ultimate aim is to make smartwatches both "functional and fun", according to the researchers behind Cito, from Dartmouth College in the US and the University of Waterloo in Canada. "Users want smartwatches that fit their lifestyles and needs," says Xing-Dong Yang, assistant professor of computer science at Dartmouth. "The Cito prototype is an exciting innovation that could give consumers even more great reasons to wear smartwatches."