When Apple revealed its quarterly results last month, its failure to offer an exact figure for sales of its Apple Watch wasn’t greeted with surprise.
Everyone knew Apple was going to keep stats under wraps when it came to its newest product, despite revealing sales for categories such as the iPhone and iPad with fierce pride when they first debuted.
The reason? Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, told investors on a conference call that he didn’t want to give competition, “...insight [on] a product we’ve worked really hard on.”
He then went on to talk about how the watch had “exceeded expectations”.
Apple’s Chief Financial Officer, Luca Maestri, made it clear that revenue from the watch was in excess of the $952 million profit Apple made in the ‘Other Products’ category in which it includes the Apple Watch (alongside iPods, Apple TV and accessories).
Cook and Maestri were essentially rebutting reports which emerged throughout June suggesting the Apple Watch wasn’t doing nearly as well as had been forecast.
One market research firm reckoned sales had slipped by as much as 90% since the device’s first week on sale.
Apple must have thought it had put this story to bed, despite the fact that not offering stats is not something it’s ever done before for a major product category.
Wall Street wasn’t happy and the company’s share price duly fell.
Now, a new report once again suggests that things are really not going well for the Apple Watch.
Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), the company which makes Apple’s system–in–packaging for its smartwatch, apparently told investors that it had failed to reach break–even volume of two million units from April to June.
Neither is it expecting to do so between July and September, when Apple could be expected to up production to ensure ample stock before Christmas.
In other words, demand is nowhere near what everyone thought it would be. Analysts are scrambling to lower predictions of global sales down.
Some had initially believed Apple would sell up to 36 million in its first year. That seems fanciful in the extreme now.
Of course, ASE is just one supplier. But it tells a story of just how a product that everyone assumed would be huge from the get go just isn’t connecting with the public.
Yes, it’s the leading smartwatch. But rival products have hardly covered themselves in glory. Android Wear remains clunky and Pebble is a cool, but niche piece of kit.
Perhaps the next generation will enthral consumers more. Or perhaps it’s time to start wondering whether smartwatches really are the future.
A handy, but ultimately non–essential accessory that only true tech obsessives will take to.
If Apple won’t release official figures, it’s no surprise that conclusions like this will be made, and increasingly so.