Apple has retaken back the lead in wearables following the release of its LTE-enabled smartwatch. In the third quarter the Cupertino, California-based tech giant managed to ship smartwatches numbering approximately 3.9 million units per Canalys, a market research firm.
Per Canalys Apple saw a strong demand for the cellular Apple Watch Series 3 during the quarter that ended on September 30. The strong demand also helped dispel doubts among service providers who had feared that the LTE-enabled smartwatch would not appeal to customers.
But despite the strong demand for the device, it is yet to reach full potential since it is not readily available and demand has so far outstripped supply in some big markets across the world. In the quarter that ended on September 30, approximately 0.9 million of the Apple Watch units that were shipped were the LTE-enabled ones. The cellular smartwatch allows users to stream music, make calls as well perform other functions without tethering it to an iPhone as is the case with the non-cellular Apple Watch.
Apple also managed to appeal to consumers by introducing more health and fitness features. This included a gym kit, new features aimed at swimmers, a redesigned app for working out and smart activity coaching. The new monitoring technology of the heart rate is also now able to display resting heart rate will send alerts to users whenever the heart rate gets elevated. The price of the latest version of a non-cellular Apple Watch is $329 while that of an LTE-enabled one is $399.
In anticipation of heavy demand as the biggest shopping season of the year gets underway, Apple should work on ensuring that there are more units of the Apple Watch Series 3 in order to avoid disappointing customers.
“In China, customers with high expectations are being driven away by the service disruption fiasco in the country. Besides bringing in more stock, operators should work on improving their remote service provisioning systems to cater for the expected higher demand in Q4,” Jason Low, an analyst at Canalys, said.
Apple’s closest rival with regards to wearables was Xiaomi. The Chinese device manufacturer managed shipments of 3.6 million units of wearables in the quarter that ended on September 30. Fitbit on the other hand came in third having shipped 3.5 million units of its wearable devices. Chinese smartphone giant Huawei took the fourth position with about 6% market share while Samsung came in fifth with around 5% market share. Apple’s market share was 23%.