Why an Apple iWatch isn't so far-fetched

Why an Apple iWatch isn't so far-fetched

Summary: The market for wearable electronics will more than triple in the next five years, according to a new report. And it's coming to an enterprise near you.

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nike-fuelband-five-540x350
Rendering courtesy Nike

Look, I'm as skeptical as you when I hear rumors about an Apple iWatch.

Does the Cupertino, Calif.-based company need a new hit? Sure. Has Google Glass ignited our imaginations for electronics that don't come in a rectangular block of plastic and glass? Absolutely. But Apple has never been one to be first—just best. The company usually hangs back, lets early attempts fail and then delivers the definitive product that actually creates the mass market for a particular segment.

A new report from the clumsily named MarketsandMarkets, a Dallas-based research company, estimates that the wearable electronics market will grow in revenue from today's $2.7 billion to $8.3 billion by 2018. That's more than triple what it is today in five years' time—a compound annual growth rate of almost 18 percent.

If you're like me, your first thought is: $2.7 billion today? Really?

In a word, yes. Of all wearable electronics, those that are worn on the wrist account for the largest share; the research firm estimates revenue for this group to be $877 million. (Examples: Nike's FuelBand, which is pictured above, or Jawbone's Up bracelet.) The smallest share right now? Neck-worn electronics, despite the enduring popularity of the necklace. Falling somewhere in between would be products like Glass (glasses!) and FitBit, a USB drive-sized device you can clip anywhere on your person.

As you would expect, this market is driven by the consumer segment; enterprise and industrial use came in dead last, with just $73 million in spend. But here's the catch: enterprise and industrial application is expected to grow the fastest among the different segments, at a compound annual growth rate of 21.14 percent, through 2018. North America will dominate the global spread, though the Asia-Pacfic region will grow the fastest, the research firm predicts.

Consumerization of IT? You betcha.

What that will look like in the office is anybody's guess. The "wearable electronics" designation includes "smart" textiles and skin patches; you can easily see how the former could be applied to athletics and the latter to healthcare. 

As for me, I'm still waiting on the gadget that will fetch me another cup of coffee. That's the kind of office productivity I think we can all agree on.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Consumerization, Emerging Tech, Tech Industry

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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9 comments
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  • I thought I had a "gadget" to fetch another cup of coffee...

    then my wife slapped me up-side the head! Told me to get my own coffee...so much for that idea! LOL!
    wizard57m-cnet
    • Have you considered ......

      "upgrading"?
      D.T.Long
      • A reboot should do the trick

        Or a reboot with modded OS. There will be instructions somewhere how to do it on good ol tinternet.
        Little Old Man
  • Why an Apple iWatch isn't so far-fetched

    Its not far fetched and Apple can build an iWatch. Its just that very few people would want one.
    Loverock-Davidson
    • I am going to have myself committed

      I am actually agreeing with LD

      God help me
      D.T.Long
    • Apple has a knack of

      Convincing people they need something they don't.

      Other means, either subtle or gross, will ensure this technology - in one form or another - becomes the norm.

      See my direct response to the article for more behind that comment...
      HypnoToad72
  • I think this has more to do with it:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505124_162-57583641/retailers-want-to-track-your-every-move/

    Who said these things are made for OUR benefit, solely or otherwise? We're walking wallets. Cattle. If there was any consideration for workers, we'd be in a more (in general) ethical society...

    Happy researching...
    HypnoToad72
    • Economics says they are made for your benefit.

      You are apparently confusing government with business. Because, you see, only a government can FORCE you to part with your money. A business has to PERSUADE you.

      But, the state loves it when you think a business is the bigger threat to your freedom and prosperity. That's why the public education system has been indoctrinating you for decades into believing governments are the innocent victims of business, when, in reality, it's just the opposite.
      baggins_z
  • Errrr.....

    Outside of the Apple lovers, who will want it. What's the point? What can they put on an iWatch [other than what is already available]? Music? OK. That will finally kill the iPod which has slumped ever since the iPhone came out [surprised it hasn't been killed by now]. Video? Internet? Both too small unless they are planning to have the watch that is about 5" digonally.
    Gisabun