By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 05, 2013 12:00 PM EST
Reports of an iWatch invaded the online media recently and seemed to die down only to resurface, this time complete with a release date.
While smartwatches are no novelty anymore and several gadgets are already available on the market, and Apple-branded iWatch could make a big difference for the industry. Moreover, the smartwatch industry is just getting started, and one analyst believes it could generate more than $6 billion in sales this year.
In an industry overview published on Monday, March 4, Citigroup analyst Oliver Chen reckoned that the watch market saw sluggish growth since 2011 when it grew 20 percent, compared to 10 percent in 2013 and 7-9 percent this year. Chen did, however, highlight that watches overall generally draw more profits than other types of apparel.
"If smart watches can achieve ~10 per cent of this share this would yield a global addressable market of $6 billion," explains the analyst.
Bloomberg, meanwhile, claims that Apple is set to launch an iWatch this year, and may "adapt its iOS mobile software to limit what information is sent to a wrist device."
On the other hand, Chen further notes that the smartwatch needs its own market to succeed, not just a place among the luxury or fashion brands. Launching a gadget to compete with already successful brands would only hinder the smartwatch's appeal, highlights the analyst. At the same time, the gadgets should have automated battery charging such as solar power to simplify the experience.
"We expect new smart watch functionality to be the most significant driver and a device's success or failure most likely depends on synergies with existing devices," Chen further explains. "E-devices have been important holiday purchases for teens, which is a positive given pre-existing loyalty."
Chen expects Movado to launch a touch-screen smartwatch as well, which would mean more competition for the Cupertino giant. In the same industry overview, Chen says the strength of the Movado brand, along with a preview of the product, suggest a successful device.
Apple recently obtained an iWatch patent for a wearable accessory that connects to a mobile device via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, displaying information in real-time. The device detailed in the patent also includes a battery, logic board and other components. While the patent does indicate an iWatch may be coming soon, Apple did not make any announcements yet regarding wearable technology.
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