Will Apple Really Sell 10 Million Smart Watches?

Samsung beat tech giant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) by introducing what many consider to be the first smart watch earlier this year. There's just one problem: Reviews of the Galaxy Gear have been lackluster at best.

The truth is that many analysts and investors still see Apple as the company most likely to revolutionize the smart watch space, even if Samsung brought the first smart watch to market. Although other products existed that fit the description prior to their respective launches, Apple is largely credited with kicking off the smartphone and tablet revolution, and that's no accident. No company has the kind of deep expertise in hardware, software, and design that Apple does. Say what you will about current versus past management, but Apple today still blows the rest of big tech out of the water when it comes to this kind of cross-functional expertise. Especially when it comes to making the kind of massive strides forward that redefining a product category requires, Apple is still the odds-on favorite every time.

So just how big could Apple's windfall be from revolutionizing the watch industry?

In the video and accompanying transcript below, Fool contributor Andrew Tonner discusses one research firm's take on Apple's iWatch opportunity and frames how he believes investors should think about Apple's widely expected smart watch.

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Andrew Tonner: Hi Fools, Andrew Tonner here.

Smart watches are likely to be one of the next major growth markets for many of the largest names in technology, and Apple's always mentioned as one of them. Now, Samsung of course beat Apple to market with their Galaxy Gear, but one recent survey showed that Apple actually could be the company to take an early lead in this growth space.

What am I talking about here? I'm talking about Piper Jaffray, the research firm who came out after conducting a study on 800 iPhone users, and they found that roughly between 2%-4% of those 800 iPhone users would say they would buy an iWatch within the first year.

Extrapolating that -- and of course this is a bit of an assumption -- but you look at Apple having an installed base of 293 million iPhone users, so between that 2-4% roughly equates to 5-10 million iWatches sold in the first year.

If you assume a price point similar to Samsung's Galaxy Gear -- which of course, again is an assumption, and Apple tends to always price at the high end of categories -- but you look at the Galaxy Gear priced at $299, you have between a $1.5 [billion] and $3 billion revenue opportunity in the first year alone.

Now, admittedly, that isn't very much as far as Apple's top line goes, but at the same time if you think about a company that's likely to revolutionize a space, I think Apple is probably best suited to really drive the smart watch market into what it really could be, because you see the overall global market for watch sales being into the tens of billions annually.

It's clear, especially looking at the Galaxy Gear, that we're very much early on in the evolution of this, and Samsung likely launched the Galaxy Gear just to simply beat Apple to market. But the bottom line here is Apple is likely to be a big winner with their iWatch in terms of dominating yet another market, and this survey just reiterates that fact once again.

Thanks a lot, and Fool on!


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 9:11 PM, Jim85035 wrote:

    How much did Apple pay for this Ad?

  • Report this Comment On October 19, 2013, at 11:47 PM, CrazyDocAl wrote:

    Could they sell 10 million, sure. Apple owners will buy them for their cool status.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 12:01 AM, stnoble wrote:

    The Apple watch is an idea too late at a time when the public wants a large display and one device. Hardly anyone has a watch, so when I ask for the time they pull out their cell phone. There are already hundreds of watch phones to be found on ebay and Samsung just released theirs so Apple is late to the dance. The dress watch will not disappear but the watch phone with it's necessary blue tooth ear piece to make it operational will have a small interest group of gadget lovers.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2013, at 11:54 PM, prginww wrote:

    Apple will not release an iWatch unless it is up to their standards. Samsung released a pos that no one will buy in any meaningful numbers. Being first only matters if your product actually matters. When Apple releases the iWatch it will matter and it will sell ridiculous numbers.

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