Unfortunately, I fear that tech-industry observers have completely
lost their perspective. As Rene has written, no matter how
big the wearables market gets, it’s still not going to touch the
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 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.
The pricing issue is a big one: carrier-subsidized pricing blinds many people to the fact that iPhones really sell for $700-800 a pop. Some analyst predicted last week that Apple will sell watches “priced at several thousand dollars”. Maybe they will, but if they do, they sure as shit aren’t going to sell as many of them as they do iPhones.
It feels a lot more likely to me that any new wearable devices from Apple will be priced more along the line of iPods: in the $100-400 range. Maybe a little higher at the outset, coming down over time. (I wouldn’t even be surprised if they use the iPod brand for them.)