Despite all the hype that the Apple Watch would be the next disruptive device, the sales pace for the watch is expected to fall at a 50 percent annualized rate in 2016.
Apple shipped 10.6 million watches during the eight months it was offered for sale in 2015. But Taiwan’s KGI Securities, which keeps close tabs on all Chinese manufacturers and suppliers, estimates that 2016 Apple Watch shipments will tank over the 12-month year of 2016 to just 7.5 million, according to a report by 9to5 Mac.
Just one week before the April 24, 2016, first-year-anniversary of the Apple Watch introduction, KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo blamed a lack of useful apps, limited battery life, and the watch’s requirement to be Bluetooth tethered to an iPhone to use the full range of apps for impeding customer demand.
Last June, 9to5 reported that an Apple Watch 2 was expected to have a FaceTime video-calling camera and the ability to receive data through a Wi-Fi radio connection, eliminating the need for iPhone pairing. But recent reports by 9to5 indicate Apple will only add a few upgrades to the existing wearable to avoid a higher price point.
Kuo also believes that Apple will push out the originally planned spring introduction of the Apple Watch “S” to clear elevated inventories in the sales channel and time the release of the “S” to the launch the iPhone 7 this fall.
Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, expressed serious concerns about the fate of the Apple Watch in a March “Ask Me Anything” thread on Reddit.
“Woz” said, “Twenty watches from $500 to $1,100. The band’s the only difference? Well this isn’t the company that Apple was originally, or the company that really changed the world a lot.” He warned:
I worry a little bit about — I mean I love my Apple Watch, but — it’s taken us into a jewelry market where you’re going to buy a watch between $500 or $1,100 based on how important you think you are as a person. The only difference is the band in all those watches.
Apple Watch did account for 50 percent of smartwatch sales in 2015, according to Juniper Research’s latest analysis. But a survey of 2,578 tech-savvy users by advertising company Fluent for the Re/code blog found 53 percent of responders consider the Apple Watch a failure.
These poll results are consistent with earlier findings in Wristly Research’s January “Pulse on Wristware” poll of 2,500 smartwatch and fitness band owners that generally found the Apple Watch to be a “mediocre novelty.”
Although some Apple Watch owners reported “astoundingly high customer satisfaction ratings,” Wristly found that the smartwatch sector is already very overcrowded with 40 companies launching a product since 2013.
Perhaps the most devastating review of the merits of the Apple Watch came from a hilarious clip by two hip teen girls from clicknetwork.tv. After having fun playing with the device for about ten minutes, they crucified the Apple Watch as “expensive and not fashionable.”