Apple Watch: Chosen Coolest Wearable In Crowded Class - InformationWeek
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10/26/2015
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Apple Watch: Chosen Coolest Wearable In Crowded Class

The jury may still be out on the success of Apple's foray into the wearables market, but a Juniper survey indicates the Watch is considered très cool.

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10 iPhone, iPad Apps Optimized For iOS 9
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Smartphone users, regardless of their mobile preference, consider Apple the coolest brand for wearable technology, according to a report from IT analytics firm Juniper Research.

The survey of more than 2,000 smartphone users aged 14 and over -- 1,003 in the United Kingdom and 1,028 in the US -- were asked about their use of and attitudes towards wearable technology. The report revealed that only one in five consumers would be willing to pay more than $175 for a wearable of any sort.

On the desirability front, Apple, the coolest kid in class, was followed by other technology brands including Samsung, Google, LG, and Sony.

The survey also found that while iOS users were more likely to buy a wearable in the near future than Android users, there was little difference in the type of device they were likely to buy.

Similar to the smartphone market, the smartwatch space is quickly moving towards a duopoly of Apple and Samsung, with more than three-quarters of respondents preferring either Apple or Samsung.

(Image: Apple)

(Image: Apple)

The report also indicated that despite the prevailing opinion that wearable devices need to be more fashion oriented, non-technology brands were not popular -- with no fashion or sports brand supported by more than 3% of respondents.

Despite the cache of their luxury brand names, companies like Ralph Lauren and Chanel placed far behind tech specialists like Google, Apple, and Sony, while sports brands like Nike and UnderArmour also polled ahead of well known luxury brands.

Even legacy watch manufacturers like Tag Heuer, Breitling, and Omega (the official watch of James Bond) polled far behind the majority of tech and fitness companies.

"As well as a more definite use, fitness devices also win on value," Juniper research analyst James Moar said in a statement. "They are the least costly wearables in the market, and the only category consistently under $175, which our survey identifies as the price ceiling for most consumers."

The survey also revealed that, even with tech savvy buyers, the value proposition for wearable devices still remains unclear for many. The report says that's an indication of a lack of a convincing use-case being one of the principal barriers.

Fitness wearables, on the other hand, provide a very clear use-case, and have consequently become the most popular wearables category. The prime example: They offer activity trackers, which help users improve sleep and encourage more exercise.

[Is Apple in a bit of a hot spot? Read Apple Hit With $5M Lawsuit Over WiFi Assist.]

In a break from the smartphone market, the survey found the battery life of wearables was relatively unimportant, and only deterred 4% of respondents from buying a wearable.

Backing up the findings of the Juniper survey is a Sept. 15 report from 451 Research of 145 Watch owners, which finds an impressive 87% satisfaction rate.

More than half (54%) of owners said they're "very satisfied" and a third said they are "somewhat satisfied" with the smartwatch, which began shipping in April after years of speculation and rumors.

Overall wearable device shipments are expected to reach 76.1 million units in 2015, up 163.6% from the 28.9 million units shipped in 2014, according to IT research firm IDC's quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, released in September.

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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