MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Consumer technology titan Apple’s (NSDQ:AAPL) still hasn’t spoken up about the rumors that the company is working on a new wearable device dubbed the ‘iWatch,’ but analysts say they expect an announcement this year.
The technology could be an important factor in Apple’s push toward digital health, made manifest by the company’s newly unveiled HealthKit iPhone app set for release this fall. The app will combine health and fitness data from varied sources that are currently "silo-ed" in discrete apps.
Analysts with RBC Capital said in a note to investors that Apple may announce a wearable product in October or November this year, and that such a technology will represent a "material opportunity" for the company.
"We think this represents a material opportunity for AAPL to leverage its ecosystem and to further deepen iOS usage among its customer base," RBC Capital’s Amit Daryanani wrote, as reported by Investors.com. "Assuming the company sells roughly 50 million units in the first 12 months, this could add an incremental $9 billion to $11 billion in revenue and $2.60 to 3.40 in EPS over the (next 12 months) post-launch."
Rival phone-maker Samsung (LON:BC94) has also been making major moves in digital health, including the launch of its wearables platform, with the ‘Simband’ hardware and ‘SAMI’ software, made open to developers. Samsung president and chief strategy officer has called digital health the "single greatest opportunity of our generation," adding that the company is on the lookout for new ways to meld technology and health.
With rival companies already speeding wearables to the market, Apple may not have much time to catch up or become obsolete, according to some analysts.
"They only have 60 days left to either come up with something or they will disappear," Global Equities Research managing director Trip Chowdhry told CNBC. "It will take years for Apple’s $130 billion in cash to vanish, but it will become an irrelevant company … it will become a zombie, if they don’t come up with an iWatch."
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