Wearables

Canada’s largest sport retailer is now selling Apple Watch

In what may be the first sport chain retailer to sell Apple Watch, Canada's Sport Check stores are now selling Apple Watch. Sport Check files as the country's largest sport retailer.

As first noted by PatentlyApple, the Apple Watch listing over at the official Sport Check website now has the latest Apple Watch Series 2 and Apple Watch Nike+ models on sale, in addition to the previous-generation Apple Watch hardware.

The new Sport Chek ads for Apple Watch began hitting the market last week.

It would seem that selling Apple Watch through specialized sport retailers may be a new thing. At any rate, we'll keep you informed if the Cupertino company expands this latest initiative to sport retail chains elsewhere.

Survey ranks Apple as #1 wearables maker

In a report issued Thursday market research firm Strategy Analytics said that Apple has overtaken Fitbit to become the world's leading vendor of devices worn on one's body, capturing sixteen percent of the global market for wearables in the March quarter.

Apple sold an estimated 3.5 million watches during the three-month period ending in March, a 59 percent increase over the 2.2 million Apple Watch units sold in the year-ago quarter.

According to Strategy Analytics data, rival Fitbit shipped 2.9 million units in March, marking a significant 36 percent drop from the 4.5 million Fitbits shipped in the year-ago quarter.

Strategy Analytics stated:

Fitbit has lost its wearables leadership to Apple, due to slowing demand for its fitnessbands and a late entry to the emerging smartwatch market.

Fitbit’s shipments, revenue, pricing and profit are all shrinking at the moment and they have a major fight on their hands to recover this year.

The new Apple Watch Series 2 is selling “relatively well” in the US, UK and elsewhere, due to “enhanced styling, intensive marketing and a good retail presence,” said the research firm.

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Chinese startup Xiaomi shipped 3.4 million wearable units, good for a cool fifteen percent marketshare worldwide. Demand for Xiaomi's popular Mi Band fitness range was broadly flat across its core markets of Asia.

Fitbit thus far has mostly focused on fitness bands and related accessories.

That could change soon as the company is expected to add smartwatches to its portfolio. However, if an image leaked earlier this week (above) is anything to go by, Fitbit's upcoming smartwatch slated for release this fall won't win any beauty contest.

Fitbit also plans on releasing a pair of Bluetooth earbuds, codenamed “Parkside” internally, alongside the smartwatch, according to two of Yahoo Finance’s sources. A photo of the upcoming $150 earbuds (below) was leaked to Yahoo Finance earlier this week.

Last December, Fitibit acquired software assets of the struggling smartwatch maker Pebble for a mere $40 million. Following the acquisition, Fitbit put the last nail in Pebble's coffin by cancelling all new hardware that Pebble had in the pipeline.

Global wearables shipments reached 22 million units during the March quarter, marking a 21 percent increase year-over-year from 18.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Stronger demand for new smartwatch models in North America, Western Europe and Asia drove the uptick, said Strategy Analytics.

The full Wearables Market Data repot is available on the Strategy Analytics website.

Apple Watch popup shop in Galeries Lafayette closing January 2017 due to poor sales

The original Apple Watch debuted in April 2015 in a few markets, with Apple pushing the $10,000-$17,000 Apple Watch Edition aggressively via pop up shops found in high-profile department stores, including Galeries Lafayette in Paris, Selfridges in London and Isetan in Tokyo. But those pop up shops won't be open for much longer, it would seem.

As reported by French blog Mac4Ever, Apple will be closing the mini-store in Galeries Lafayette effective January 2017 due to poor sales of the device at the location.

Samsung pulls back the curtain on two new wearables: Gear S3 Classic and Frontier

It is no secret that the Gear S2 watches were far from perfect even though they were a step in the right direction for Samsung. Today, the South Korean company has expanded its smartwatch lineup with the introduction of a pair of new wearables—the Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier. More elegant and rugged than ever, the new Samsung watches have embedded GPS and cellular LTE connectivity.

Like the 2015 Gear S2, the new S3 range is based on the Tizen operating system that brings some updated software features to the mix. The Gear S3 Classic and Frontier will start shipping later this year.