The race for your wrist: Apple iWatch tipped for release in 2014

August 28, 2013
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Recent reports suggest the Apple smartwatch will arrive sometime in 2014. ZD Net is reporting that two Taiwanese firms, both of whom build devices for Apple, have received orders “to make the iWatch”.

“Apple is likely to introduce ‘iWatch’ in 2014. From our channel checks, Inventec is the major assembly source for ‘iWatch’, with about 60 percent of order allocation” said Wanli Wang of the banking firm CIMB. These orders, of which Inventec reportedly has 60% of the projected 64 million units, are being split with Quanta computer, who was recently tapped by Apple as a final assembly point in the US for their Mac computers.

We’ve seen companies like Samsung follow Apple’s lead into a market segment before, and eventually overcome Cupertino in market share.

Apple, if all reports are correct, now has two manufacturers for their watch, and a team of 100-plus engineers working on the device. Google is also said to be working on a smartwatch, with Sony and Motorola already established in the wearable marketplace. Samsung is ready to announce their new Galaxy Gear watch, and Kickstarter is ripe with devices like the Pebble and Omate TrueSmart.

Samsung plans to announce what could be a dynamite offering for the wearable segment, and the TrueSmart from Omate is a very robust all-in-one. Google, if they introduce any new watch during their Nexus event this fall, will probably sit near the top of the heap as well. We’ve seen companies like Samsung follow Apple’s lead into a market segment before, and eventually overcome Cupertino in market share. This time, they’ll lead the way.

The difference this time? Apple will follow.

An Apple smartwatch promises to be a thoroughly useful and delightful device, as most of their products are. We can safely assume it will be well built, with a delightful screen, and have plenty of assistance from Apple store employees on best practises for utilizing such a device.

While companies like Samsung and Google historically let Apple set the trend, the tide is turning. Samsung and Omate are ready to stake huge flags in the segment, and Apple will be hard-pressed to gain a foothold beyond their loyal fanbase. Apple products are very tied into their ecosystem bubble, which could harm their chances, should a Samsung or Google offering offer iPhone support.

Same ‘ol song and dance

The similarity this time? Apple doesn’t care. Apple almost never reacts, they only act in the interest of their users. Seemingly comfortable in their own skin, Apple is ready to draw a line in the sand that users can easily decide to traipse over or not. Whereas the culture was once combative, and famously ‘thermonuclear’, Apple is now content to be different.

One thing is certain: Apple won’t care whether we like the iWatch or not.

Even if Apple follows Samsung or Google into the smartwatch segment, what they bring to the table will be decidedly poignant. These are crucial times for Apple, as their limited innovation of late has damaged both their stock price and patina. The iWatch will either be a monumental failure, or a triumphant victory — the first for Tim Cook.

Even though Apple will come to market “late”, they’ll make a grand entrance. For the tech obsessed, waiting to see what Apple brings to the table will be the order of the day, not jumping on board any ship that sets sail first. While offerings like The Galaxy Gear and TrueSmart are Android devices, and really interesting, they may not be the best offering in the segment. Apple may be second this time, but they may also be packing a punch.

One thing is certain: Apple won’t care whether we like the iWatch or not. Their stores will be packed with people clamoring to see it, and 64 million units will flood the streets. Market share or not, they set a trend at Apple. A trend nobody has been able to overcome, even when their devices are first out of the gate.

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