“Watchmakers, caught off guard by the success of Apple Inc.’s smartwatch, are now trying to keep pace with changing customer tastes by introducing messaging alerts and other high-tech features to traditional watches,” Ese Erheriene reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Brands including TAG Heuer, Swatch and Fossil Group are working with Apple rivals such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Intel Corp. to offer their own smartwatches or hybrid versions that offer smart functions while retaining traditional design.”
“Global shipments of Swiss watches steadily slipped after the first Apple Watch was unveiled in 2015,” Erheriene reports. “Despite picking up in the past two years, they were overtaken last holiday season by Apple’s smartwatch for the first time. UBS predicts Apple Watch sales will rise 40% next year to reach 33 million. The tech giant is expected to move 8.8 million shipments in the fourth quarter of this year, said Francisco Jeronimo, a research director at International Data Corporation.”
“The digital divide is growing, however, as the Apple Watch Series 4 released last month added an alert system for when the wearer falls down and a function designed to identify heart irregularities. Analysts say those features target a demographic of faithful watch buyers who are typically more resistant to technology: older customers,” Erheriene reports. “Swiss watchmakers that operate in a price category similar to Apple—the Series 4 starts at $399—are feeling the pain of Apple’s competition, with the number of loss-making companies in the low to midrange market rising, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
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MacDailyNews Take: Trying to catch up to Apple is a fool’s errand.
Few analysts or writers will outright say it, but I will: the Apple Watch is going to flop. The Apple Watch is Jonathan Ive’s Newton. — Mark Wilson, March 2015
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