When Apple announced the Watch, commentators were quick to claim that it would help bring wearables out from geek obscurity and into the light of the mass-market. Just like Apple had reinvented smartphones, mp3 players and tablets, so too would the smart watch be re=imagined for the likes of you, your grandmother, and me.
Several months on however, the vacuum generated by Apple’s reticence to release actual sales figures has opened up a speculative space: is it (and by extension the Smart Watches category as a whole) a flop or not?
A flurry of sensationalist articles pointing to a supposed 90% plunge in US Apple Watch sales certainly steer one towards the flop end of the spectrum. Slice Intelligence, the source of these figures, accompanied these claims with some dramatic looking figures.
The question is, how many early adopters can there be? Those keen enough to buy into the first-gen Watch iteration would likely have rushed to adorn their wrists as soon as it came on the market, leaving only a few keen stragglers, and a greater mass of as of yet unconvinced customers, many of whom are waiting for a second generation no doubt.
What’s more, any ‘disappointing’ sales figures still effectively trounce the Smart Watch competition, capturing the lion’s share of the market in the space of just a few months. Reading between the lines of Apple’s recently published quarterly results, it appears that the Watch is already a billion-dollar business.
Clearly, any flop related commentary is not quite justified. Neither is it possible to speak of an inevitable success however. A whole suite of first-gen issues need to be ironed out before the Watch is quite ready for breakout success. Too much currently rests on marketing nous and brand loyalty, leaving many (including the Watch owners I have spoken to) unconvinced as to its actual use value.
So neither flop nor outright triumph, but most definitely a propitious start, most definitely a space to watch.