Analyst Sees Apple Selling 21M iWatches in First Year

Apple’s so-called iWatch is still just a rumor, but at least one analyst thinks such a device would be a best-seller when released, with 21 million units expected to sell in the first year alone.

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If the company does launch the iWatch later this year, UBS analyst Steve Milunovich thinks Apple will sell it for $300 and that the product could add one to two points of earnings per share growth. In other words, it could be a runaway hit, like the iPad.

"We are more confident that Apple will be introducing the iWatch before the holiday season following WWDC's introduction of HealthKit, recent healthcare hirings, the acquisition of LuxVue Technology, and positive comments from Eddy Cue at the Re/Code Conference," Milunovich wrote in a note to investors, according to AppleInsider, which obtained a copy.

The web site noted that Milunovich estimates the iWatch would add $6.5 billion in revenue to Apple's projected fiscal year 2015 results and about $11 billion in revenue to the company's fiscal year 2016 results.

In contrast, the original iPhone only sold 5.4 million units in its first year. The iPad got off to a better start, selling 19.5 million units in its first year, and 47.6 million in the second year.

"We expect iWatch sales to roughly track iPad unit sales — similar penetration rates would mean higher sales," Milunovich said in his investor’s note. He did, however, caution that since the iWatch is a wearable product, it’s appeal may not be as wide as the iPad’s is.

Apple apparently is confident that there is a sizeable market for a wearable device and reportedly is planning to manufacture 3–5 million units per month. While the iWatch’s design is currently being finalized, the general consensus is that and it will likely have a curved LED display, much like the concept by Todd Hamilton that accompanies this post. The device, which is expected to be launched in October, may have a focus on health and will be able to track such things as calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood glucose, and blood oxygen levels.

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Dean Tomasula is a journalist and photographer with more than 30 years of experience. He has written for a number of newspapers, magazines, online sites, and a wire service, covering such areas as business, technology, financial services, direct marketing, and community news.