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Apple Rethinks Smartwatch Strategy After Failing To Beat Rolex

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Apple may be the numero uno smartwatch seller in the world and while it can revel in the fact that it thwarts its wearable rivals such as Samsung, Sony and LG in this sphere, the Cupertino-based company is still not a shine on Swiss watchmaker Rolex, which is synonymous with luxury.

At its keynote on Sept. 7, Tim Cook proudly shared that the Apple Watch ranked the second in the top 10 list of global watch sales in 2015. The Apple Watch was the only smartwatch in the list — a commendable feat — and routed established luxury watch labels such as Fossil, Omega, Cartier, Patek Philippe, Longines and Tissot to name a few.

However, the Apple Watch came just in second, and for those wondering who took home the honors — it was Rolex.

The Apple Watch may be the blue-eyed boy of consumers when it comes to the most hype, as illustrated by a luxury brand report in February this year, but Rolex is the one people still favor as seen in the report's "passion index" rating.

Taking a cue from the fact that the Apple Watch was the second best in sales, the company seems to have rethought its strategy for the second-gen iteration of the smartwatch.

The Apple Watch Series 2 now imbibes two exciting functionalities — GPS support and being swim-proof, which make the wearable a better bargain for those eyeing a robust fitness tracker.

The software and chipset changes, improved battery life and updated hardware bring on board more functionalities, which is only natural in the successor.

However, in a strategic move, Apple has very smartly desisted from offering the Apple Watch Series 2 in the 18-karat gold variant, which would have many breaking the bank. Instead, the company has opted for a ceramic finish lineup that will, in comparison, cost much less.

Apple has also played smart and ensured that the Watch Bands it offered previously as additional accessories will be compatible with the Apple Watch Series 2. Even the watch straps from third-party accessory makers that were intended for the original Apple Watch will be compatible with the successor.

This move from the company will find favor with consumers as the older accessory does not become obsolete. The shift in strategy, which seems to be focusing on a combination of fashion, fitness and fun instead of just the snob value for a luxury model, is a good start to address its position in the watch market.

Considering the Apple Watch's cheaper models sold more than the higher priced models, Apple seems to be in the right direction. It seems the company has learned its lesson and is not willing to make the same mistakes twice.

In the end, the fact that Rolex is synonymous with legacy and its reputation has been cultivated over the last 100 years is possibly no match — even for a company like Apple. A Rolex is a Rolex, after all!

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