According to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), Apple shipped a total of 3.6 million wearable device units in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15) -- that's 800 thousand units behind the market leader's (Fitbit) 4.4 million units.
IDC reports that the total wearables shipment volume for the quarter came to 18.1 million units -- that's up 223.2 percent from the 5.6 million units shipped in 2Q14.
"Anytime Apple enters a new market, not only does it draw attention to itself, but to the market as a whole," said Ramon Llamas, research manager at IDC.
IDC believes that the Apple participation benefits multiple players and platforms within the global wearables ecosystem, and ultimately drives total market volumes higher.
According to the IDC assessment, Apple could therefore become the consumer wearables market benchmark, and competing vendors need to monitor their design and technology development.
Now that Apple is officially a part of the wearables market, everyone should be watching to see what other wearable devices it decides to launch, -- such as smart glasses or hearables.
Apple's arrival had the greatest impact on the smart wearables category, or those devices capable of running third party application software. About two of every three smart wearables shipped this quarter was an Apple Watch.
Apple has clearly garnered an impressive lead in the smart wearable space. And, although Fitbit out-shipped Apple, it's worth noting that Fitbit primarily sells basic low-cost high-value wearable devices.
In the short history of the wearable market, a clear divide has formed between smart wearables and basic wearables (devices that do not run third-party applications, including most fitness trackers).
Price and functionality are the main differences between the two categories, and that gap is expected to widen over time as companies such as Apple add advanced features to justify the much higher price.
For vendors focused on basic wearables, they will continue to use value-based pricing to compete with the superior capabilities offered by the more advanced smart wearable device vendors.