Business / Technology

Can new Apple watch make a splash?

By Meng Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-09 07:30

Can new Apple watch make a splash?

Apple Inc Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams discusses the Apple Watch Series 2 during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday. [Photo/Agencies]

Despite being equipped with a new waterproofing feature, whether the new Apple Watch can make a big splash in the China market is still uncertain, said analysts.

Apple Inc unveiled on Thursday a new version of its Apple Watch, the first hardware upgrade for the device in 18 months.

The new watch, dubbed the Apple Watch Series 2, is waterproof down to 50 meters and is equipped with built-in GPS, allowing users to track their swimming and jogging activities without carrying an iPhone.

Some analysts are thrilled by the new watch's waterproofing, believing it can better lure sports enthusiasts. Julie Ask, principal analyst at Forrester Research, said waterproofing "is one of the features that we've been missing from these watches. One in five consumers have wearables today and Forrester data expects one in three to have wearables in four to five years."

However, James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research described the new watch is only a "micro upgrade" from the previous version.

"The new watch has done a great job of combining good looks with tracking of sports activities. But, it doesn't bring revolutionary changes due to the limitations in the supply chain," he said, adding that the smartwatch is still not a necessity for consumers in emerging markets because their income levels are not high enough to support multiple Apple products.

Apple, which shipped its first watch in April 2015, aims to use a blockbuster wearable product to tackle the slowing iPhone sales, which contribute more than 60 percent of the California-based company's annual revenue.

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, said at the annual event on Thursday which introduced the new iPhones and other products, that Apple Watch is already the world's second largest watch brand after Rolex in terms of worldwide sales in 2015.

Despite being a clear leader in the new smartwatch market, the Apple Watch saw its shipments between April and June fall to 1.6 million devices from 3.6 million in the same period last year, mostly due to the lack of updated hardware, said International Data Corporation.

Price could be another issue limiting sales of the new watch, which is priced from 2,888 yuan ($433) in China.

In a survey released in May, ABI Research found that close to 67 percent of respondents in China plan to buy a smartwatch in the next 12 months, due to the wide range of choices that local manufacturers offer to consumers and the products' affordable pricing, good design, and comprehensive feature set.

ABI Research finds the average selling price for a smartwatch in China to be around $166 in 2016.


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