App-enabled smartwatch shipments to reach 36 million units by 2018, says Juniper

Apple iWatch could hit market as early as this fall, predicts Citi analysts

App-enabled smartwatch shipments are forecast by Juniper Research to reach 36 million units by 2018, up from one million in 2013.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung are expected to be the leading players in this market, supplying multi-function smartwatches with features such as fitness and sports activity tracking, as well as mobile payments and ticketing, Juniper predicted.

"By educating and publicizing this device segment to the consumer, Apple and Samsung will indeed act as a catalyst to the market. In addition, being a key influencer, these players' entry into the smartwatch segment will benefit existing smartwatch players--providing an increase in awareness and adoption of other wearable devices," commented report author and Juniper analyst Nitin Bhas.

The report distinguishes multi-function smartwatches from existing products, such as the Pebble and Sony Smart Watch, which function more as consoles than as app-enabled devices like smartphones.

App-enabled smartwatches are expected to generate opportunities for app developers, as well as accessory makers. App-enabled mobile wireless accessory shipments are forecast to approach 170 million units by 2018, according to Juniper.

An analyst with the CIMB Group has a more robust view of the smartwatch market. The analyst predicted that shipments of the Apple smartwatch, known as the iWatch, will reach 63.4 million units next year, according to a report by

Analysts at Citi are predicting that the iWatch could hit the market in the second half of this year. More sanguine analysts expect the iWatch to be available sometime next year.

For more:
- see Juniper's release
- read the report
- check out the Citi prediction

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