Apple Watch: Why the Wearable Is Good News for Competitors

The smartwatch market may get the boost it needs with the Apple Watch.

ByABC News
March 9, 2015, 11:40 AM
The new Apple Watch will cater to fitness buffs, casual exercisers.
The new Apple Watch will cater to fitness buffs, casual exercisers.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

— -- When the Apple Watch reaches consumers next month, it's expected to become the bestselling smartwatch on the market, while also giving its competitors a boost.

"There is clearly interest in the category," Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, told ABC News. "If Apple can make this work and they can give the industry a few pointers, then I think you're going to see the other players saying, 'We're going to have another go.' I think you’ll see a halo effect."

With an estimated 280 million compatible iPhones on the market (the 5, 5c, 5S, 6 and 6 Plus only), Wood said he predicts Apple will sell around 20 million Apple Watches by the end of 2015. While many of those sales will likely be to Apple super-fans, Wood said Apple's entry into the wearables market will help expand consumer awareness.

The top-selling smartwatch brand, in terms of volume, on the market now is the Pebble, according to CCS Insight. The indie watchmaker unveiled a new line of watches in recent weeks that stand out from previous models for their thin size, color display and microphone.

Pebble's timing was no coincidence, Wood said. "I think it is interesting for Pebble to get out there and highlight its capabilities" before Apple's launch, he said.

Beyond the surge of interest Apple has drummed up since it first showed off the watch in September, Wood said today the company needs to "urge existing iPhone users they need a smartwatch."

"What I am hoping to see are the reasons why I need an Apple Watch in my life," Wood said. "I think Apple has been very smart in announcing this ahead of time. They were able to control the message. The single biggest advantage that I see is the fact they were able to exploit their most valuable asset: the developer community."

Apple has given hints about the nuggets people can expect to see on the Apple Watch, which starts at $349, including flight information, text messages and meeting reminders. In the past few months, however, developers have also been working on unique app experiences for the wrist.

After the September event, Apple CEO Tim Cook told ABC News the wrist is "a very interesting place" because users can glance at it while "you can't glance at a lot of other places on your body."

"You can measure a lot of things from there and you can just get, honestly, a tidbit today of what all it can do," Cook said. "But I think it's huge."