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Apple may enter low-cost wearables market, likely to unveil a fitness ring first

Apple may be considering diving into wearable tech soon and launching many new products, including a fitness ring, smart glasses, and AirPods equipped with cameras, finally entering a market segment that is exploding, as per a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

Apple is under pressure to develop a product that sells in huge numbers without cutting into its existing product lineup.

In the past, Apple’s industrial design group proposed the concept of an intelligent ring to the company’s health team, envisioning a device that incorporates health-tracking features similar to those found in the Apple Watch but in a compact ring form factor.

Recent discussions among engineers at Apple’s Cupertino labs have also revolved around smart glasses development, drawing inspiration from similar products introduced by Meta Platforms and Amazon Inc., Gurman revealed.

These glasses could offer audio capabilities, potentially replacing the need for AirPods while leveraging AI and cameras for object recognition, paving the way for Apple’s long-envisioned augmented reality spectacles.

The exploration of these ideas reflects Apple’s strategic focus on expanding its wearable devices category, which has witnessed significant growth. Currently encompassing products like the Apple Watch and AirPods, this division now contributes 10 percent of the company’s revenue, a notable increase from less than 5 percent a decade ago.

Wearable devices serve as revenue drivers and enable Apple to attract new customers and enhance user engagement within the ecosystem.

While developing an intelligent ring remains speculative at this stage, the concept aligns with Apple’s strategy to cater to individuals who may not prefer traditional wristwatches or find wearing smartwatches cumbersome.

Such a device could offer a cost-effective means of gathering essential health data. It could be marketed as an iPhone accessory, further bolstering Apple’s ecosystem and customer retention efforts.

Similarly, exploring smart glasses aligns with Apple’s ambition to introduce innovative wearable technology. Although true augmented reality spectacles are still several years away, Apple may consider introducing a more modest iteration akin to the successful second versions of smart glasses from Amazon and Meta.

These glasses could offer features such as video recording, music playback, and voice commands, catering to evolving consumer preferences for wearable technology.

In pursuing wearable innovation, Apple has also contemplated developing glasses that could replace AirPods, boasting enhanced battery life, advanced sensors, and expanded AI capabilities.

By offering more affordable alternatives to its high-end products, such as the $3,500 Vision Pro headset, Apple aims to appeal to a broader consumer base while maintaining its commitment to technological excellence and user experience.

Although the fate of these proposed wearable devices remains uncertain, Apple faces mounting pressure to revitalize its sales amidst declining overall revenue and stagnation in its once-dominant wearables business. By exploring lower-cost wearable options, such as fitness rings and glasses, Apple seeks to reignite consumer interest and drive sustained growth in the competitive wearables market.

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