More than two years after the launch of the Apple Watch, Apple has finally managed to replicate 1940s comic book technology, a breakthrough that analysts say will spur sales.
The Apple Watch Series 3, released on Tuesday alongside the long-awaited iPhone X, features LTE wireless connectivity. This means customers will be able to make phone calls or send text messages from the watch without having to have an iPhone nearby, as they do with previous models.
The ability to make calls with a wristwatch has captured the imagination of tech enthusiasts, at least since it was featured in Dick Tracy, the comic book about a private detective who, starting in 1946, used calls from his wrist to help. to arrest thieves.
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“This has been our vision from the beginning,” COO Jeff Williams said at the launch event. “Now you can run with just your watch and still be connected. It’s great to know that you can be contacted if needed.”
Sure, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has been selling smartwatches with mobile data connectivity since 2014, but the early devices were bulky and suffered from poor battery life because the data connection consumed extra power. They also require a separate phone number.
Apple claims its new Series 3, on the other hand, will have up to 18 hours of battery life and is just a fraction of a millimeter thicker than the previous Series 2. is still necessary.
Apple said all four major US carriers will offer service for the watch, and AT&T Inc and T-Mobile US Inc said it would cost $10 more per month.
Analysts generally believe the new connectivity can boost sales, although there is little consensus on how much.
At $399 (approximately Rs. 25,540), the new Watch is only slightly more expensive than the previous model, the $329 Series 2 (approximately Rs. 21,000), which introduced the autonomous GPS feature. That extra $70 buys you much more useful features – including the ability to stream music from Apple Music.
“The third time is the charm of the watch,” said Bob O’Donnell of Techanalysis Research.
What could delay some consumers is the recurring monthly billing, which would far exceed the extra cost of the Series 3 over older watches over time, said Brian Blau, an Apple analyst at Gartner. “Yes, you have to pay for that extra data plan, but it looks like carriers will at least make it relatively easy to do,” Blau said.
Apple doesn’t say how many Apple Watches it sells. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi believes Apple will sell 12 million watches in fiscal 2017 and 14 million to 15 million in fiscal 2018. Gene Munster of Loup Ventures predicted a much larger increase to 26 million. of units in 2018.
Either way, Apple is putting new pressure on smartwatch rivals like Fitbit Inc and Garmin Ltd, who would be under pressure from a technical and commercial standpoint to match Apple’s wireless capabilities. Garmin and Fitbit did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside of normal business hours.
The Watch will continue to be a weakness in Apple’s sales of $215 billion last year. But it may be taking its place as part of a family of products that Apple loyalists can’t do without — all while turning a 1940s schoolboy fantasy into a reality for the masses.
© Thomson Reuters 2017