ABI Research estimates that wearable computing is the next big thing. The company is keeping its eye on Apple amid iWatch rumors, noting that the wearable computing device market will grow to 485 million annual shipments in the next five years.
Wearable computers “could soon become the norm” ABI Research forecasts, adding that “the wearable computing device market will grow to 485 million annual device shipments by 2018.”
The company estimates that more than half the wearable technologies market is attributed to sport and activity trackers at the moment.
However, “Smartphone compatible watches are beginning to emerge, and rumors have materialized regarding Apple releasing a smart watch some time this year,” ABI reports.
“The furor about wearable technologies, particularly smart watches and smart glasses is unsurprising,” says Josh Flood, senior analyst at ABI Research.
Apple is rumored to release a wearable device made of flexible glass. The primary candidate, regarding suppliers, is Corning.
The company produces the Gorilla Glass employed by Apple’s iPhones over the past two years, and has recently produced a bendable version called Willow Glass.
Flood says, “Apple’s curved glass-based watch could prove to be a revelation in the wearable technologies market.”
“The major question is whether the digital time piece will act as a complimentary device to the company’s iPhone smartphones or as a standalone product with other functionalities like health or activity tracking capabilities.”
ABI points out that a smart watch such as the one envisioned by Apple pundits will offer “extra usages for an item most people already own and commonly purchase.”
In other words, it will make perfect sense for watches to include features currently bound to our smartphones and tablet computers.
“Furthermore, the capabilities of smart watches could lead to the device being used as a wearable remote for home automation systems. A quick shake of your wrist to turn off/on room lights would be a very convenient tool,” ABI concludes.