Sept. 14--WATCH and computer chip makers saw millions wiped off their share prices yesterday following the launch of the new iPhone by Apple.
Global stocks took a hit over fears that the latest model of the Apple Watch would eat further in to the sales of the traditional watch makers. Apple has already overtaken Swatch as the world's leading watch firm.
And others fretted that companies that supply technology for the iPhone -- many of them based in the UK -- would be swamped by demand and unable to hit sales targets.
Yesterday, Swiss firm Swatch sank by 3.9pc as investors anticipated gadget lovers would go wild for the new product.
The Apple Watch will for the first time allow users to make calls and send messages without a connected iPhone.
It also has more advanced fitness tracking features, such as heart rate monitors and workout plans, at a time when devices such as these are flying off the shelves.
Analysts feared Swatch's low-price products will fall out of favour with buyers.
And fellow Swiss watch maker Richemont was also hit, its shares falling by 1.2pc.
'The fact that the new Apple Watch is untethered from the phone has the potential to be a game changer,' said Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux. 'It is a fight for wrist real estate and superb functionality versus a simple quartz watch. In many cases the quartz watch is going to lose.'
Last year, consumers bought 21.1m smartwatches around the world, largely led by sales of the Apple Watch, according to industry trackers Strategy Analytics.
However, the prospect of new competition in the smartwatch market failed to dent the US fitness tracker giant Fitbit, which rose 3.8pc.
With the new Apple Watch still only compatible with an iPhone, Fitbit told Reuters it believes it still has extensive market room to sell wearable devices which are compatible with all phones.
While tech fans digested the new products, investors were more caught up by the fact that Apple also announced that it will not be shipping its completely redesigned iPhone X until November 3.
This is later than expected by markets and more than a month after the iPhone 8 -- its other new release.
The move sent Apple suppliers south, with investors worrying that firms will not be able to produce enough chips to meet strong demand over the Christmas period.
Nevertheless, some analysts warned that consumers could be unwilling to pay the hefty £999 price tag for the top-of-the-range iPhone X, which offers features such as wireless charging and face recognition.
After rallying for weeks in the run-up to the iPhone launch, British semiconductor maker IQE, which makes parts for Apple's 3D technology, sank by 7pc, or 10.25p, to 136.75p yesterday, wiping some £70m off its market value.
Meanwhile, Imagination Technologies, the iPhone chipmaker embroiled in a long-running dispute with Apple, sank 5.1pc, or 7.25p, to 135.75p.
And Laird, which also supplies electronic parts to Apple, fell 2.7pc, or 4p, to 147p. Over on the continent, German listed Dialog Semiconductor sank 1.6pc and Spanish listed microchip maker AMS fell 3.9pc.
'Apple has dashed the hopes of investors in its UK suppliers as it delays the launch and delivery of its new iPhone,' said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG. 'For these firms the blow is a tough one to take -- they essentially live or die by the tech titan's decisions.
'Shareholders don't like the sound of delays in shipping, especially in the run-up to the all-important Christmas period -- will all the hype have evaporated by the time deliveries begin?'
Michael van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said: 'The very hefty price tag may curb near-term demand on both sides of the Atlantic before prices are revised down.'
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