After some of the early backers of the Apple Watch including Instagram, Amazon and eBay pulled their smartwatch apps from the Apple Store back in April of 2017, many feared that this could spell the end for this type of wearable device.

While Apple doesn’t publish or share the sales figures of its smartwatch, market research firm Canalys estimates that the company had a 49% global share of the smartwatch market back in 2016 after shifting around 11.9 million of the devices. Given that more than half of these sales were from the final quarter of the year, the fact that companies pulled their support for the device only months later had most industry experts scratching their head – although, at the time, AppleInsider sensibly speculated that the apps could have been removed as they simply weren’t being used widely enough.

A Year On – How Are Sales of Apple Watch and Smartwatches Doing?

Despite a number of high profile backers seemingly scaling back their operations with regards to the Apple Watch, the evidence suggests that the device is selling better than ever. Thanks to the release of of the Series 3 model back in September (which now includes optional LTE support on networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile), the Apple Watch enjoyed its best ever quarter in late 2017, with Statista estimating that Apple shipped around 8 million units between October and December, taking the total amount of watches sold for the year to around 18 million. In terms of the smartwatch industry as a whole, the figures and forecasts also look promising. Analyst firm Forrester predicts that smartwatches could make up over half of the wearable technology market by 2022, with the industry almost doubling in size from a $4.8 billion industry in 2017 to one worth just over $9 billion in a little over 4 years.

Check out the Grey Camo strap from @leluxestraps. Now available! #Ad

A post shared by Apple Watch Lifestyle (@applewatchlifestyle) on

Are The Current Benefits and Strengths of Smartwatch Technology Enough?

The fact that watches are designed to be worn on your person at all times means that the strengths of a smartwatch lie primarily in its convenience. Whether it’s responding to a text, email, or any other kind of message, digging your phone of your pocket is often the last thing you want to be doing, especially in a busy area or on public transport for example. With a smartwatch, you essentially have a smartphone on your wrist and pinging back a pithy response has never been easier. After all, if you don’t fancy moving your fingers at all then there’s always the option of speaking into the watch itself, minimizing the risk of the carpal tunnel syndrome which will surely plague the current generation of texters in years to come.

Gaming has the potential to be a particularly frustrating exercise owing to the the limited screen real estate provided by such a compact device. With the mobile gaming market continuing its steady growth in recent years, game designers have therefore developed a wide variety of titles designed specifically to be enjoyed on a smaller screen which players can interact with intermittently when they have a few minutes to spare. Everywear Games Inc is a developer dedicated to games for wearable devices, and one of their most impressive releases for the Apple Watch is Runeblade, a surprisingly full-featured RPG for such a small screen. There are slot games such as Thunderstruck 2, which was in fact the first slot game ever released for the Apple Watch in addition to being available on mobiles and browsers at online casinos such as Betway Casino. There are also clones of classics such as Candy Crunch available on Samsung devices, there’s no reason to feel held back by a smartwatch if you’re a serious gamer.

Those who aren’t fully aware of the capabilities of the modern smartwatch could be forgiven for thinking that the downloadable non-gaming related apps do nothing more than simply bring notificiations to your wrist. This is certainly not the case and whether you’re using an Android Wear device, Apple Watch, Samsung Gear Sport or any other smartwatch variants, there are a variety of apps which can entertain you, help you to stay organized and track your fitness and health. Many other smartphone apps, including popular note-taking app Evernote, work together with the Apple Watch to give you notifications and allow for quick adding of new text and voice notes.

The Future of Wearable Technology

Back in September, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the Apple Watch had become the top selling watch globally, dominating traditional brands like Rolex and outselling smartwatches offered by companies such as Misfit and Samsung. Even more astonishingly, figures show that the sale of Apple Watches outsold the entire Swiss watch industry in the last quarter of 2017. Looking at these figures alone, it seems quite clear that wearable watches are here to stay and will spearhead the wearable technology industry drive for at least the foreseeable future.

Despite the standout success of devices such as the Apple Watch, some experts say that the technology has the potential to produce smartwatches and other devices which are currently unimaginable. Apple is already toying with the idea of including an EKG monitor in their future models, which will help detect early signs of an irregular heartbeat or other related heart conditions which can otherwise go unnoticed.

Indeed, there is a growing consensus that wearable technology in general has a big role to play in the healthcare industry and could be used to detect and diagnose a wide array of issues which were only previously detectable by blood and urine. As is the case with all technology, it’s difficult to ascertain where we’ll be in 20 years from now or even 10 but given time, smartwatches may become a staple for the modern man and woman.