Apple shipped enough units of its new smartwatch to nearly overtake market leader FitBit in the last quarter, according to analysts at International Data Corp. Their report warns that traditional fitness bands may be losing popularity to smartwatches and other devices that offer more features.
"People want to get more out of their devices. It's kind of like the way smartphones overtook basic phones," said IDC's Ramon Llamas in an interview.
Consumer response to the Apple Watch has been the subject of intense speculation since the new gadget went on sale this spring. While Apple is known for making popular gadgets, the watch represents a new category of products for the company. Critics have questioned whether it's useful enough for consumers to need or want one on their wrist.
Apple has not revealed how many watches it has sold at prices that start at USD 350, with luxury models selling for USD 10,000 or more. After the company issued its last financial report, in which Apple lumped watch sales into a broader category it calls "other products," many analysts estimated Apple sold between 2 million and 3 million watches during the quarter that ended in June.
IDC says it starts with Apple's financial reports but also gathers data from suppliers, distributors and consumers to estimate the number of units shipped by the Cupertino, California, company, not actual retail sales. IDC also tracks shipments of personal computers, smartphones and other computer products. Its reports on those products, along with estimates from rival research firm Gartner, are widely cited in the industry.