Wearables Warming Up As Apple Roll-Out Nears

Sentiment about wearable devices continues to improve. Some17% of iPhone owners in September expressed intent to purchase a wearable device in the next 12 months, up from 6% in May 2014, per research from a consulting firm. This increase coincides with September's Apple Watch announcement. Since Apple consumers are typically some of the earliest adopters of new technologies, the increase in the smartwatch category reflects a strong likelihood Apple will see success of the Watch in its initial release early 2015. The company released its software development kit, WatchKit, for developers Tuesday.

I'm on the fence about wearables, but if I buy one I'll probably go with Apple, since I own an iPhone. Futuresource Consulting ran a study in May and in October, surveying more than 8,000 consumers across the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The biggest difference in the study between the five months identifies iPhone owners having stronger intent to purchase a wearable device.



Glass was once expected to roll out in 2014, but reports now put a Google Glass launch in 2015. Reuters reports that "of 16 Glass app makers contacted by Reuters, nine said that they had stopped work on their projects or abandoned them, mostly because of the lack of customers or limitations of the device. Three more have switched to developing for business, leaving behind consumer projects."

Aside from Google Glass, the overall wearables market saw significant growth in 2014, with Futuresource forecasting full year sales of more than 51 million units worldwide. Some 12.7 million wearable devices were shipped globally in Q3 2013, up 40% compared with the year-ago quarter. The market will continue to get hotter. Wearables sales are expected to accelerate beginning next year, as new brands enter the space and Apple builds momentum. Sales are forecast to grow 44% in 2015, reaching about 74 million units.

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