Some 957,000 Americans preordered the Apple Watch on Friday, the first day the company accepted orders, according to measurement company Slice.
The new device appears to be off to a reasonable start, though far short of analysts’ estimates for the first year of sales for the device – as high as 60m for the whole of 2015.
The watch is a rallying point for Apple lovers: 72% of purchasers had bought an Apple product in the past two years (though some of that probably has to do with the device’s iPhone requirement), and majority opinion favored both the larger of the two case sizes and the Apple Watch Sport, as opposed to the pricier Apple Watch proper or the much, much pricier Apple Watch Edition. Preorders will begin shipping in April, but some will ship as late as May and June.
“There are a lot of companies that would love to be selling 1m devices,” said Ramon Llamas of tech market analysis firm IDC. “But if you’re Apple, you’re sometimes unfairly judged when people say, ‘A million? That’s it?’ We started [our predictions for 2015] at 22m back in December and came back down to 16m. You’ve gotta give Apple a mulligan (a second chance) on their first-generation device – they’re learning a lot of things.” IDC will revisit its predictions this coming quarter.
Last July, Morgan Stanley predicted Apple could sell 30m-60m Apple Watches in the first 12 months. In the best-case scenario Apple would benefit from a “halo effect” as consumers added the watch to their portfolio of Apple products, Morgan Stanley predicted.
Whether Apple can reach those targets remains to be seen, but Llamas said the gadget will help to trigger a major uptick in the popularity of wearable technology in the next few months. IDC is predicting 45.7m wearable tech devices will be sold in 2015. For “smart wearables” – gadgets like the Apple Watch that can run applications without another processor – IDC expects sales to more than quintuple this year.
“The Apple Watch raises the profile of wearables in general and there are many vendors and devices that are eager to share the spotlight,” Llamas wrote last month. “Basic wearables, meanwhile, will not disappear. In fact, we anticipate continued growth here as many segments of the market seek out simple, single-use wearable devices.”
Speaking to the Guardian, Llamas said he believes the next generation of the Apple Watch will be the one that determines whether consumers are actually interested in the device. Until then, kinks need to be ironed out. “There are a lot of stories about how they didn’t get all the features they wanted into it, but frankly it would be a more compelling story if they did,” he said. “Also, the battery only lasts 18 hours, so, come on ... We can do better than this.”
This article was written by Sam Thielman, for theguardian.com on Monday 13th April 2015 17.08 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010