Wearable Tech Takes Off
This week Kara Swisher reported that Jawbone, maker of speakers and wearable tech, is on the verge of completing a $250 million round of funding. Swisher cites the growth of the wearable technology market as the motivation behind the expansion. The company was valued at $1.5 billion in 2011 and the new round of funding would place it at $3.3 billion. The news came on the heels of a report from independent analyst Canalys predicting big growth in the wearable tech sector.
Canalys bases the projection on last year’s sales of wearable tech wristbands. Around 200,000 units shipped in the first half of 2013, and 1.6 million in the second half of the year, a 700 percent increase. Canalys analyzed the sales data in two segments: basic (activity trackers like Nike Fuelband and Fitbit) and smart (Pebble watch and Samsung Galaxy Gear). Fitbit and Samsung constituted more than 50% of sales in their respective segments. Canalys predicts 8 million smart band units will ship in 2014, driven by the new smartwatch Pebble Steel and rumors of Apple moving into the market with a smart band.
Next Apple TV Release Might Face Delays
One of the biggest stories this week was Comcast’s agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable. Along with the many questions it raised about competition and market share, the potential deal also has product release implications. Questions have arisen about whether the deal might impact the next release of Apple TV.
There has been speculation that Apple might disrupt TV the way it did the music industry, but it appears the company is going in a different direction. Apple has reportedly been in negotiations with Time Warner Cable and other providers, about streaming programming on the next device, which would expand the current Apple TV content offerings. News of the Time Warner Cable acquisition may threaten that strategy. Comcast has its own box, which eliminates incentive for them to work with Apple TV the way Time Warner Cable was reportedly considering. It’s early to say what will happen with the next Apple TV, but there’s a chance it will remain as Steve Jobs referred to it: a “hobby.”