Companies in the Apple Watch supply chain say that orders continue to rise, with 4.5m shipments expected in the final quarter of the year. This would take total shipments for the year to 15m units.

The same sources say that they expect this number to increase to 20m in 2018 …

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The numbers were cited to Digitimes, whose supply-chain sources have a mixed record. It’s more likely they would have hard info on Q4 orders than on those reaching across the whole of next year.

With Apple declining to break out Apple Watch sales, it’s always hard to get reliable data, different sources coming up with different estimates. For example, Strategy Analytics said back in May that Apple overtook Fitbit in Q1 to become the world’s top wearables vendor, while Canalys said earlier this month that it then fell behind both Xiaomi and Fitbit the following quarter. That shift may be real, or it may simply reflect differing data.

That said, predictions of higher sales next year seem reasonably safe. Bloomberg first reported that Apple would be launching a new model with LTE connectivity, supported by a KGI report that said there would the Series 3 Apple Watch would include both LTE and non-LTE models, as with iPads. The latest information says that it will not support phone calls.

Sales may also be significantly boosted by a deal with healthcare company Aetna to offer free or subsidized Apple Watches to its 23m customers.

While I see an LTE Apple Watch as having a limited market, my colleague Chance argues that it has the potential to be a true iPhone replacement.

Photo: ArsTechnica


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