Will Apple Watch launch the wearables market?

The March 9 Apple event was centred around the announcement of pricing and availability of the Apple Watch line up. The product line is widely expected to spark mainstream consumer interest in autonomous wearable electronics. The market has strugled to take off in 2014 but digital majors are now lining up major aquisitions to find the right products and talent in this exciting space. London corporate finance could play a major role in developing wearable tech in Europe, since the UK capital’s fashion pull and technology resources are well placed to make it a hub in the segment.

In the lead up to the Apple Watch announcement the company has revealed a new medical research platform, a new MacBook, and a significant expansion in content with the addition of HBO Now. The availability of HBO Now on Apple devices and the release of the Apple Watch will be the two biggest factors influencing consumer electronics in 2015.

Integrating Apple software and services in all aspects of daily lives is the overarching long-term strategy for Apple. The company wants to be at the centre of media consumption and communication across a growing range of use cases. With the launch of the HBO Now service exclusively on Apple devices it hopes to make Apple TV a front runner in smart TV platforms. HBO has a wide array of Hollywood blockbusters along with popular original programming that has not previously been available without a pay-tv subscription that included HBO channels. HBO Now makes this content accessible outside of a pay-tv package, and along with the Apple TV price cut should push strong volume sales of the company’s media player as well as Air-Play capable in-home entertainment equipment.

The biggest announcement of the day was the Apple Watch. The new line of devices ranges in price from $349 to $10,000 depending on materials used and will have a significant impact on the wearable electronics market in 2015, particularly when it comes to autonomous wearable electronics. User interface design has always been one of Apple’s biggest strengths, as well as one of the biggest problems facing wearable electronics manufacturers. Whether Apple Inc managed to create a wearable device interface that is sufficiently intuitive and non-intrusive to become a mainstream device remains to be seen, but what is clear is that the Apple Watch will have significant developer support and a robust marketing campaign behind it to drive sales. Most importantly the Apple Watch will have the Apple brand behind it which remains a status symbol in China and other emerging markets.

However, simpler passive wearable electronics like the FitBit, will continue to dominate volume sales. It likely won’t be until 2017 that autonomous wearable electronics like the Apple Watch overtake passive wearables globally.

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