Rumors indicate that Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) next Apple Watch will include its own cellular modem chip. Benchmark analysts believe that providing the smartwatch with the ability to connect directly to cellular networks, without the use of a smartphone, is the key to consumer adoption and that the change could push the smartwatch market to reach 100 million units sold by 2021 (up from 30 million this year). The new Apple Watch will run on watchOS 4 (scheduled to be released in September), and support workouts ranging from common fitness activities to sailing and fishing. While AAPL is the current smartwatch leader with an estimated 50% market share, FitBit (FIT), the leader in the less capable fitness tracker space, has just introduced its newest fitness watch, the Ionic.
Howie Long-Short: So FIT launched their first smartwatch using hardware and software built in-house, right after APPL announced it is introducing a cellular version of its Apple Watch. FIT execs must feel like they are walking in quicksand…which would seem like a good workout.
Fan Marino: While the Ionic can’t beat the new Apple Watch from a technology standpoint, FIT is doing what it can to ensure the watch competes from a marketing one. The company has announced it is teaming with Adidas (ADDYY) to provide a branded version of the Ionic in 2018.