Watch Series 3 Helps Apple Inc. Reclaim Its Wearables Crown

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Apple sold 3.9 million units in Q3, buoyed by a product refresh which saw Series 3 introduced, which included an LTE model for the first time. The launch of Apple Watch Series 3 is one major reason for Apple's stellar performance in the third-quarter. Of those, 800,000 were likely Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular units. Apple also released the new WatchOS 4 operating system for all Watch generations. Xiaomi and Fitbit, which shipped 3.6 million and 3.5 million wearable bands respectively, have also bucked the trend of the traditionally weaker Q3 by posting quarter-on-quarter growth.

The new device, Apple's first that connects to the internet without being tethered to a smartphone, took the USA mobile giant to 3.9 million shipments in the recent Q3 2017, according to new data from Canalys.

During the previous quarter, Xiaomi had overtaken Apple as the world's largest wearable bands provider. CCS Insight believes Apple could have sold more as Watch 3 only went on sale in the third week of September, about halfway through the Quarter, and supply was constrained. Despite increased shipments, the overall wearable band market dropped by 2% to 17.3 million units, primarily due to the waning demand for the basic bands, Canalys estimates.

At its earnings call, Apple said the Apple Watch grew 50% year-over-year in sales but continued its silence on revealing exact numbers for its wearables.

The only thing holding Apple back was limited availability in some markets, Canalysis said. In most of the markets, only the Wi-Fi version of the Watch Series 3 is available.

Apple's smartwatch ads are full of feel-good stories about how the wearable changes people's lives for the better, mainly on the physical activity side of the everyday spectrum, but this next story is something else, and forced even Tim Cook to react.

"Strong demand for the LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3 has dispelled service providers' doubts about the cellular smartwatch not appealing to customers", said Canalys Analyst Jason Low. Year to date, the stock is up over 49%, while in the last one-month, it is up over 10%.

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