Even more than with most gadgets, this category’s future is shrouded in mystery
Jason Snell of Macworld thinks that the pundits who think it’s absolutely vital that Apple dive into the smartwatch market–such as analyst Trip Chowdhry, who predicts doom if the company doesn’t make a move by next month (!!!)–are a tad overexcited. Referencinganother post by iMore’s Rene Ritchie, Jason argues that smartphones are going to remain by far the biggest, most profitable category of gadget for years to come, even if they aren’t as much fun to talk about as a nascent field like wearables.
Jason and Rene are two of the smartest people who write about tech, and both of their pieces are well worth reading. I agree with most of what they say. But in his piece, Jason buttresses his skepticism by quoting some stats from research firm IDC, which is part of my former employer IDG:
IDC reported that in 2013, one billion smartphones were shipped, up 38 percent from the previous year. That’s a fast-growing market worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Meanwhile, on Thursday IDC predicted that the wearables market will reach 112 million units in 2018.
In other words, in four years the wearables market might grow to be one-tenth the size of today’s smartphone market—in units shipped. Presumably the average selling price of wearable items will be a fraction of that of smartphones, meaning the dollar value of the wearables market is even more minuscule compared to the smartphone market.