In its short time on store shelves, Apple Watch has already overtaken all wrist-worn wearables.
Apple shipped 4.2 million of its smartwatches during the second quarter (Q2) of 2015, according to estimates from the Canalys research group. Although Apple's smartwatch was supply-constrained and arrived for three weeks after the quarter began – the Watch was officially released April 24 -- the company shipped enough units to unseat several big rivals in the wearables market.
Apple Watch handily beat Fitbit, Xiaomi and smartwatch makers like Samsung and Motorola in Q2, said Canalys. A clearer picture of how many of those units made their way to the wrists of end users may be emerge after the Cupertino, Calif. device maker reports its third-quarter fiscal 2015 results later today.
In February, CCS Insight, a technology analyst firm, forecast that Apple will sell 20 million Watches this year. "The Apple Watch will be instrumental in taking the wearables market to the next level of growth," said Ben Wood, the outfit's Chief of Research.
"The Apple Watch is the most sophisticated smart watch to date, and it has proved popular with Apple fans worldwide," said Chris Jones, vice president and principal analyst at Canalys, in a statement. "But Apple and other vendors still face important challenges to make the smart watch a breakout hit."
Following strong demand ahead of its sale date, Apple Watch encountered some early setbacks.
Some owners with wrist tattoos reported that their body art interfered with the wearable's infrared sensors, which power its heartrate tracking capabilities. Apple also reportedly wrestled with faulty taptic engine components, which are used for the Watch's tactile feedback and notification capabilities.
Those stumbling blocks weren't apparently enough to prevent Apple from taking an early lead in the smartwatch market. But there's still room for improvement, according to Jones.
"Improvements in performance, battery life and sensor integration are needed to make future models more attractive, but it is the quality of third-party apps that will determine whether the Apple Watch will be a long-term success," he stated. Some big names in IT are already helping Apple with the latter.
In May, Apple and IBM quietly took the wraps off three new apps that deliver work-related notifications and alerts to Watch wearers. They include Hospital RN for nurses, a safety-enhancing app for field technician and the GPS-enabled Incident Aware app for public safety personnel and first responders. In March, Salesforce launched Salesforce for Apple Watch for customer service and sales organizations that were already eyeing Apple's smartwatch.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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