In early 2018, it was reported that Apple’s share of the global wearable technology market stood at 59%. To put that even further into perspective, Fitbit – who are second on the list, only enjoy 11% of the entire slice. Apple brands have now become so commonplace that entire markets are sprouting, to offer accessories and other support products for them. With the whole world evolving rapidly towards fully embracing personalized wearable tech, it is clear that Apple is already establishing a foothold in the industry. The question is whether they will enjoy unmitigated success, or if it is simply a flash in the pan.
The Apple Watch
At the center of the electronic giant’s success so far has been the Apple watch. The product has come a very long way since its very first release in April 2015. Four more series have been launched since, with the first two versions of the device no longer in production today. The Apple watch is an accessory in its own right, with its value very limited unless tethered to an iPhone.
Trailblazers and “the competition”
Apple may be dominating the market, but they definitely were not the first to dip their feet into the waters. In 2013, Google’s research and development arm X (then Google X) began to sell prototypes of Google Glass. These were wearable, eyeglass-shaped tech devices that connected to the Internet via natural language commands. However, Google pulled the device from production after only one year selling in the open market, following concerns raised on privacy and safety.
Obviously, we already have a wide variety of wearable technology that existed even before the era of smart devices. A big segment of this is yet to be prevailed upon by the wave of artificial intelligence. This is fallow land that Apple and its competitors will undoubtedly be looking to exploit moving into the future.
In the coming years, we can expect to see the world’s tech titans begin mainstreaming more smart wearables. Items such as smart headsets, glasses, patches and even implantables are likely to become everyday appliances. Apple will certainly want to be leading such initiatives, but nothing is guaranteed in the whirlwind world that we live in.
As far as the Apple watch is concerned, there is a very definitive movement towards it becoming a very important health accessory in the world today. A good indicator that Apple is pushing their product in this direction came when they released an update in early December. The update now enables the device to detect arrhythmia and even falls. The fall-detection feature is particularly intriguing, as it enables the watch to call 911 in case the wearer falls and does not get up after a period of time.
One of the more immediate challenges that Apple are likely to be tackling is how to ‘untether’ the Apple watch from the iPhone. Establishing it as an independent gadget could be the first step of the company’s venture forward into their future in wearable technology.
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Karoline Gore spent many years in technology development before becoming a full-time freelance writer.