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Digitimes Research: Apple iWatch to play key role in boosting smartwatch sales
Danny Kuo, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Monday 14 October 2013]

After researching existing smartwatch players' product strategies and technology maturity, Digitimes Research believes that the competition in the smartwatch industry in the next three years will mainly be between standalone and accessory models. The standalone models, which can operate independently without a smartphone, have better specifications and also higher prices, while the accessory models, which rely on smartphones for most of their operations, have inferior specifications and lower prices.

For the smartwatch industry's future outlook, Digitimes Research believes the entry of Apple's "iWatch" will be the biggest driver to boost the market's overall shipments. If the iWatch is able to show up in the second half of 2014, smartwatch annual shipments should greatly benefit, while ASPs will also decline more slowly.

Apple's strong marketing is expected to help stimulate overall demand for smartwatches, while the US vendor's brand power, which allows the company to price its products higher than the average, will help reduce the rate of decline of smartwatch ASPs.

If Apple releases its iWatch in the second half of 2014, smartwatch annual shipments are estimated at 5.92 million units for 2014, 22.79 million for 2015 and 75.66 million for 2016. Without the iWatch, the estimated shipment volumes will reduce to 1.82 million, 6.19 million and 24.15 million from 2014-2016, respectively.

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2014 global smartphone market forecast