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Apple Continues To Dominate The Smartwatch Market

Cellular connectivity enables watches to work independently of smartphones - a capability that we believe will drive the market

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Apple Watch
Apple watch series 4.

Although Apple continues to dominate the smartwatch market, its share in the global shipments of smartwatches went down to 30 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, from 35 per cent in the same quarter last year, according to a new report from Counterpoint Research.

Global smartwatch shipments grew 53 per cent year-over-year in the third quarter of this year with strong performance from Fitbit, kids watch brands such as Imoo and start-ups such as Amazfit, showed the latest findings from Counterpoint’s “Global Smartwatch Tracker”.

Fitbit’s share in the smartwatch shipments market went up to 16 per cent in Q3 of this year, from six per cent in the same quarter last year, registering a year-over-year growth of 348 per cent in terms of shipments, the report said.

“Fitbit continues to shift its focus from predominantly SmartBand/trackers to smartwatches and has now evolved as the next best player to Apple in terms of experience and scale,” Counterpoint Research Analyst Satyajit Sinha said in a statement.

“The launch of the Versa smartwatch was the turning point for Fitbit’s smartwatch segment growth. The health/fitness factor is playing a key role in driving consumer decision making for the adoption of smartwatches and Fitbit has entirely focused on this core use case,” Sinha said.

When it comes to Apple, the introduction of the Series 4 this autumn was the biggest update from a design and features standpoint, the report said.

Apple, Iphone XR, Apple Watch
Apple also leads as global tablet market decline 8.6% in Q3: IDC.
Flickr Commons

“Apple’s Series 3 saw an uptick later in the quarter with discounted pricing, while Apple’s Series 1 continued to be the single biggest selling SKU contributing to almost half of all Apple Watch shipments. This could change in holiday season quarter as our channel checks showed pent-up demand for the Series 4,” Counterpoint Research Director, Jeff Fieldhack, noted.

The US consumers find the LTE communications capability in the Apple Watch the most desirable feature, the report said.

Cellular connectivity enables watches to work independently of smartphones – a capability that we believe will drive the market.

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“By end of this year, cellular-capable watches will likely contribute to 20 per cent of global smartwatch shipments. This will be a challenge for Fitbit to solve and range LTE SKUs (stock keeping units) in their portfolio,” Sinha said.

“The children’s or kids’ smartwatch segment is growing rapidly, especially in Asia,” Counterpoint’s Senior Analyst, Hanish Bhatia, added. (IANS)

Next Story

Google, Apple to Remove Saudi App Allowing Men to Control and Monitor Wives

The app is available in the Saudi version of the Google and Apple online stores.

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Saudi Arabia, Saudi app
FILE - A Saudi woman speaks on the phone in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 2, 2017. VOA

A Saudi Arabian government app that allows men in the country to monitor and control their female relatives’ travel at the click of a button should be removed from Google and Apple’s online stores, a U.S. politician and activists said on Wednesday.

Human rights campaigners argued the tech giants are enabling abuses against women and girls in the ultra-conservative kingdom by hosting the app.

The free Absher app, created by the Saudi interior ministry, allows men to update or withdraw permissions for their wives and female relatives to travel internationally and get SMS updates if their passports are used, said human rights researchers.

The app is available in the Saudi version of the Google and Apple online stores.

Google, Saudi Arabia
The app is available in the Saudi version of the Google and Apple online stores. VOA

“Part of the app’s design is to discriminate against women,” said Rothna Begum, an expert in women’s rights in the Middle East at Human Rights Watch.

“The complete control that a male guardian has is now facilitated with the use of modern technology and makes the lives of men ultimately easier and restricts women’s lives that much more.”

Begum said a few women had turned the app to their advantage by gaining access to their guardian’s phone and changing the settings to grant themselves freedom, but such cases were rare.

Neither Apple nor Google were immediately available for comment. Apple CEO Tim Cook told U.S. public radio NPR yesterday that he had not heard of Absher but pledged to “take a look at it”.

Saudi women must have permission from a male relative to work, marry, and travel under the country’s strict guardianship system, which human rights groups have criticized as abusive.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden has publicly called on both Apple and Google to remove it from their stores, arguing it promotes “abusive practices against women” in a Twitter post.

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most gender-segregated nations, is ranked 138 of 144 states in the 2017 Global Gender Gap. Pixabay

However, Suad Abu-Dayyeh, a spokesman on the Middle East for women’s rights group Equality Now, raised doubts over whether the companies would take action.

“Power and money talks, unfortunately, without giving any attention to the violations of human rights,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“I really hope they take a concrete stand towards removing these apps but I am not really hopeful.”

Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most gender-segregated nations, is ranked 138 of 144 states in the 2017 Global Gender Gap, a World Economic Forum study on how women fare in economic and political participation, health and education.

Its guardianship system came under fresh scrutiny after Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun fled from her family and was granted asylum in Canada in January.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman indicated last year he favored ending the guardianship system but stopped short of backing its annulment.

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But any moves toward gender equality have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, including the arrest and alleged torture of women’s rights activists as well as Muslim clerics. (VOA)