Apple will challenge market with iWatchApple will enter the wearable device market in the third quarter of this year after it has said it will launch its smart wristwatch iWatch along with the iPhone 6.
Unlike its first-mover strategy in the smartphone market, Apple is taking a fast-follower strategy in the wearable market, after Samsung and Google, drawing attention to the developing competition in the market.
Domestic and overseas IT industries said yesterday that Apple ordered 12 million flexible organic LED displays to be used in iWatches from LG Display early this month.
Apple reportedly set a goal to sell nine million iWatches by the end of this year.
“The sizes of displays for the iWatch will be in two types,” said an IT industry source. “Apple is making 1.3-inch and 1.6-inch products at the same time, and a prototype for the 1.6-inch product is known to have been manufactured.”
Although Apple has not decided which display size will be used in the final product, sources predict it to be smaller than the 1.63-inch display of the Samsung Gear 2.
As Apple enters the wearable market, another round of neck-and-neck competition between Apple and Samsung is expected.
In 2007, Apple revolutionized the mobile industry with the iPhone, pushing out traditionally strong phone makers such as Motorola and Nokia.
In the process, Samsung positioned itself as a follower in the mature smartphone market, but was stigmatized as a copycat, leading to a patent infringement lawsuit from Apple and damages amounting to 2 trillion won.
However, in the wearable market, Samsung and Apple have switched places. Now Samsung is the pioneer.
Samsung Electronics not only launched its smart wristwatch Galaxy Gear last year but also introduced the Gear 2 this year and the smart band Gear Fit, dominating the wearable market.
Samsung SDI also revealed the world’s largest capacity 210 milliamperes per hour (mAh) curved battery for smart bands yesterday.
In the wearable market, Apple has become the challenger, and the iWatch is known to emphasize its health functions, just like Samsung’s Gear 2.
The iWatch will include functions to manage exercises, check and save numbers of calories burned and walking distance, and will track health by showing blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration rate, body temperature and blood sugar levels.
All of those functions were part of Samsung’s Gear series and also included on the Galaxy S5 smartphone.
“Apple claimed that Samsung’s Galaxy copied Apple’s iPhone, bringing up the innovations of the iPhone and iPad,” said a spokesman for Samsung Electronics.
“If the iWatch comes out with health care functions as highlights, Apple is admitting that it is not any different from other companies.”
Fierce competition is expected as Samsung, Apple and Google all venture into the wearable device market.
“Flexible batteries, flexible electronic circuits and flexible displays are the most important technological factors in the spread of wearable devices in the future,” said Shim Soo-min, a research fellow at Digieco, KT’s economic research institution.
BY KIM YOUNG-MIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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