Apple Watch is dominating the cellular smartwatch market

It's time to put LTE in your smartwatches, everyone else
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It's been clear for a while the Series 3 is the Apple Watch's big breakthrough moment. It's been selling gangbusters for Apple, far more than the Apple Watch Series 2 ever sold.

While we don't exactly know why, it's easy to assume that LTE connectivity was a tipping point for many people. The allure of getting to leave your phone at home was a strong one, especially for those who liked to go out for a run or bike. Now, new Canalys data says the Series 3's best-selling nature doesn't just amount to dominating other Apple Watches. The Series 3 is also dominating all other LTE smartwatches.

Read this: The best LTE smartwatches

The Series 3 has 59% of the cellular smartwatch market in Q1 2018. Cellular networks have taken to the Series 3 as well, pushing it to their customers in an effort to drive up subscription revenue thanks to data plans. Even better for Apple, more carriers are picking up the Series 3 every month.

"While the Apple ecosystem has a strong LTE watch offering, the lack of a similar product in the Android ecosystem is glaring," said Canalys senior analyst Jason Low. "If Google decides to pursue the opportunity with a rumored Pixel Watch, it would jump-start much needed competition in this space."

While there are other LTE smartwatches, many of them are long in the tooth. There's the year-old LG Watch Sport, the year-old Huawei Watch 2 and the year-old Samsung Gear S3. The lack of competition, combined with Apple's ability to suck up all the attention to itself, has helped the Series 3 stand out as an LTE hero.

Overall, the wearable market grew 35% year-over-year, moving 20.5 million units in the quarter. A lot of that has to do with a demand for health-centric devices. Apple won the quarter with an estimated 3.8 million units, while Xiaomi - on the strength of its Mi Band fitness trackers - came in second with 3.7 million units. Fitbit, Garmin and Huawei came in third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Garmin, however, came in second for smartwatches after Apple, moving 1 million units in the quarter.

And of course, users are continually replacing their fitness trackers with high-end smartwatches. Fitbit is essentially in a race to sell more smartwatches than fitness trackers, according to Canalys. This past quarter, smartwatches - including the new Versa - made up 24% of its sales.

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Husain Sumra

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Husain joined Wareable in 2017 as a member of our San Fransisco based team. Husain is a movies expert, and runs his own blog, and contributes to MacRumors.

He has spent hours in the world of virtual reality, getting eyes on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR. 

At Wareable, Husain's role is to investigate, report and write features and news about the wearable industry – from smartwatches and fitness trackers to health devices, virtual reality, augmented reality and more.

He writes buyers guides, how-to content, hardware reviews and more.


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