UBS Thinks Apple Will Sell 24 Million Watches Next Year

Apple ceo tim cook apple watchREUTERS/Stephen LamApple CEO Tim Cook at the Apple Watch unveiling in September.

According to a survey by UBS, 10% of consumers said they were very likely to buy a smartwatch ahead of the Apple Watch launch in early 2015.

UBS surveyed 4,000 people and estimates Apple will sell about 24 million Apple Watches next year based on how many compatible iPhones are in use. (The Apple Watch is an accessory to the iPhone. It can’t work independently.)

Most people surveyed (70%) said they already owned a regular watch, but would still buy a smartwatch.

If Apple can sell anywhere close to 24 million watches, it will be a huge success. So far, no smartwatches have resonated with consumers. In the last 13 months or so, Samsung has released six different smartwatch models. None have been big sellers.

The Apple Watch will start at $US349, but could cost well into the thousands for the models made of premium materials. Some, like Apple pundit John Gruber, have speculated that the gold Apple Watch will cost as much as $US10,000. Apple hasn’t given specific pricing on the various Apple Watch models except to say what the entry-level version will cost.

Smartwatches running Google’s Android Wear operating system cost as little as $US199.

Apple is still working on the watch. Even though the official unveiling happened in September, we only got a limited look at everything the Apple Watch will be able to do.

Since then, Apple has released Watchkit, a set of tools developers can use to make their iPhone apps work with the Apple Watch. WatchKit gave us a deeper look at how notifications will work on the Apple Watch.

We also may never find out how many watches Apple sells. On its last earnings call, the company said it would lump the Apple Watch sales into a miscellaneous category along with gadgets like the Apple TV and iPod. But if the watch has a strong opening weekend, you can bet Apple will come out with a braggy press release the following Monday with some real sales data.

The wearable computing market is one of the biggest growth areas in tech. BI Intelligence estimates that 148 million wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers will ship in 2019.

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