The Apple watch was revealed late last year by the Cupertino, CA-based company to mixed reviews. While some like Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson predictably praised it, some others like LVMH (Louis Vuitton Mo«t and Hennessy) Executive and the boss of such reputable wristwatch brands as TAG Heuer, Zenith and Hublot, Jean-Claude Biver lambasted it saying that it looks ‘feminine’ and likened it to something designed by a student designer. But all of that negative publicity hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of Apple fans. Recent reports indicate that pre-orders for the device was just a shade under one million (957,000 to be precise) and it sold out shortly after release. This is in direct contrast to only about 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches being sold during all of 2014.
Now, according to a report coming out of Taiwan, all this has spooked Android Wear OEMs and vendors so much that they have been going out of their way to avoid direct competition with Apple’s latest gadget. Apparently, they’ve been “adjusting their plans” to launch smartwatches and smart bands, according to Taiwan-based vendors, who were originally banking on the Apple watch to expand the fledgeling smart devices market as a whole. But with the better than expected response to Apple’s gadget, they’re now worried that Apple might come to dominate the global smartwatch market, leaving little room for their competitors at the high-end. If that doomsday prediction does indeed materialize, Android Wear manufacturers are deeply concerned that they can only hope to compete in market segments without much pricing power. Some vendors have proactively started cutting risks by shifting from smart wrist-watches to smart wrist-bands due to lower production costs and associated market risks. Apple watches are priced from US$350 (£299, AU$499) for the Sport Edition to the $17,000 (£13,500, AU$24,000) Gold Edition.
According to an IDC (International Data Corporation) forecast, worldwide shipments of smart wearable devices will reach over 45.7 million units in 2015 from around 4.6 million in 2014, and 126 million units in 2019.