Smartwatch market’s fate seems to rest on Apple’s iWatch

iWatch ShipmentsImage Source: iWatch Concept by Esben Oxholm

A slathering of solid reports suggests every major smartphone vendor on the planet is now working on a smartwatch. Samsung, Motorola, Sony and LG have each already released smartwatches of some kind, Google’s initial offering is reportedly due later this month and even Microsoft is said to be toying with the idea of getting in on the action. According to new research, however, the smartwatch market’s fate still rests largely in the nonexistent hands of Apple’s “iWatch.”

Digitimes Research on Monday issued a new report analyzing the smartwatch opportunity over the next three years. The group paints two pictures that don’t resemble one another at all — one where the market lives on and grows without Apple’s iWatch, and one where Apple’s debuts its much rumored iOS-powered smartwatch in the second half next year.

In the first scenario, the smartwatch market grows from 1.82 million units shipped next year to 6.19 million units in 2015 and 24.15 million in 2016. Pretty impressive for a category that barely exists right now, but nowhere near as impressive as the picture Digitimes Research paints of a market that includes Apple’s iWatch. According to the group’s estimates, a 2H 2014 iWatch launch would drive shipments 325% higher next year to 5.92 million units. 2015 shipments would apparently get a massive bump from 6.19 million units to 22.79 million, and 2016 estimates catapult from 24.15 million smartwatches shipped to 75.66 million.

According to a recent report, Apple’s iWatch will be much more than just a smartwatch, possibly featuring home automation tie-ins and other new features.

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