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Wave of Wearable Device Apps Set to Begin, Apple Watch to Take Lead
Apps designed to run on connected, wearable devices are well positioned for a boom, according to new market research from IDC. The market research company predicts the number of third-party applications that run on smart wearable devices will expand from 2,500 as of year-end 2014 to 349,000 in 2019. Apps for the Apple Watch are expected to garner as much as two-thirds of the emerging wearable device app market, making it a primary driver of app development, IDC points out in its report, "Worldwide Wearable Applications Forecast, 2015-2019."
"It has been clear since well before it was launched that the Apple Watch, with the WatchKit SDK, is poised to set a tone for the broader market," John Jackson, IDC research vice president, Mobile and Connected Platforms, was quoted in a press release.
"To succeed in what we expect will quickly become a very crowded category, consumer-oriented app developers need to focus on intelligent service delivery and 'always on you' experiences that leverage the human factor improvements that smart wearable devices offer."
Enterprise Will See Fair Share of Wearable Device Apps
While most of these apps will be for consumer use, IDC sees a substantial opportunity for use in enterprise businesses. IDC sees the enterprise share of wearable app numbers growing from 10 percent to 17 percent over the forecast period.
"Applications designed for wearable devices deployed to address specific enterprise workflows are the highest value targets for developers in the wearable technology space in the near term," noted Jackson. "IDC believes that enterprises will find numerous points of intercept for existing and new workflows and are prepared to invest substantially in wearable solutions that deliver potentially transformative productivity and competitive benefits."
Smartphone and connectivity to other host devices will be a key attribute for the majority of wearable device apps, according to IDC. That said, the research firm also sees stand-alone apps having "a meaningful presence."