Can new Ap­ple watch make a splash?

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By MENGJING mengjing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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. Onein 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 in­May, 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.

One in five con­sumers have wear­ables to­day and For­rester data ex­pects one in three to have wear­ables in four to five years.” Julie Ask, prin­ci­pal an­a­lyst at For­rester Re­search

REUTERS

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

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