News Scan: iWatch to replace iPod business; Complaints over $130 charge for Surface Pro 3 keyboard; more

>> Round iWatch to supplant iPod business, predicts analyst

The new iWatch is expected to be round, with a health and fitness focus, writes Brian Blair, an analyst with Rosenblatt Securities, in an investors note obtained by AppleInsider. The analyst expects the iWatch to replace the firm's declining iPod business, noting that Apple has not refreshed its iPod lineup in more than a year. Blair expects between 18 million and 21 million iWatches to be produced in the second half of this year. Read more.

[More on smartwatches: Smartwatch shipments soar | A short history of wearables]

>> Reddit participants trash Surface Pro 3 over extra charge for keyboard

Members of Reddit complained about the extra charge of $130 for a keyboard to go with Microsoft's Surface Pro 3, which the firm is marketing as a laptop replacement, according to a report by Network World. The $130 for the keyboard is on top of an already hefty $799 price tag for the tablet alone, more than many touchscreen laptops on the market. Responding to the feedback, the Surface Team says: "When we first launched Surface, we sold it only in a bundle format. The top feedback we got was that people loved the color covers and wanted full choice (but stores wouldn't sell all color bundles) and some people definitely wanted to buy without cover." Read more.

[More on the Surface: Microsoft bets on larger, more powerful Surface Pro 3 to capture enterprise customers | Microsoft snubs channel partners in Surface deal with Delta]

>> Smartphone-based authentication fuels market growth

The increased use of smartphones is fueling growth of the multifactor authentication market, which TechNavio forecasts will increase at a 19.3 percent compound annual growth rate through 2018. Smartphone-based authentication can be used to generate one-time passwords and for biometric scanning. "Advantages such as high scalability, no requirement to carry extra hardware, and easy implementation have increased the adoption of phone-based authentication solutions in comparison with traditional hardware tokens," says Faisal Ghaus, vice president of TechNavio. Read more.

[More on authentication: Samsung ramps up efforts to gain enterprise mobility market share | Security, functionality gaps exist in beacon deployments]

>> Online real estate portals add mobile data from Facebook, Porch

Online real estate portals are adding mobile data from Facebook and Porch to meeting the demands of mobile home buyers, Mobile Marketer reports. For example, Redfin is integrating Facebook Messenger into its home buying app to share listings with contacts. Realtor.com is adding home remodeling portal Porch to its app in order to provide ideas for potential home buyers. "People are on the go, they're using their mobile devices more, and they're using them as integral tools while they're actually out visiting a home," says Andy Taylor, director of product at Redfin. Read more.

[More on real estate: Keller Williams gets real with mobile app for realtors, home buyers | Mobile home selling]

>> Wearables market to reach 91 million units next year, says NPD

The wearables device market is forecast by NPD DisplaySearch to reach 48 million units this year and 91 million units next year. But after that, demand is expected to slow following the initial hype. "We expect that the dynamics of the wearables market will be similar to DVD, LCD TV, smartphones and other digital consumer markets with commoditized hardware. The arrival of Samsung, LGE, and other large, cost-efficient manufacturers to the wearables market would bring prices and margins down," says Paul Gray, director of European TV research for NPD DisplaySearch. Read more.

[More on wearables: Infographic: Health and fitness app users turn to wearables | A short history of wearables]