The iPhone was revolutionary to say the least, and although the iPad wasn’t as big of an impact, it was also a huge success. However, the Apple Watch, which debuted only a couple of months ago, isn’t as magical to consumers.
Andy Hargreaves of Pacific Crest cut his Apple Watch forecast for 2015 from 11 million to 10.5 million. A mere half a million doesn’t seem like something to cry over, but Hargreaves warns that next year’s “soft follow-on sales” will be the bigger problem. He is now estimating Apple will move 21 million watches in 2016, which is down from his earlier estimate of 24 million.
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Hargreaves isn’t the only analyst to cut estimates. Back in May, UBS referred to the product launch as “somewhat botched” and cut its 2016 forecast by 23 percent to 31 million due to “tepid interest.”
It’s not all doom and gloom for Apple though. The Apple Watch is likely to smash the competition for a while based on these estimates.
So why isn’t the Apple Watch setting the world on fire? It’s simply because smartwatches in general are not “game changing” in any way. It is a cool way to check notifications and pay for a coffee at Starbucks, but the cost doesn’t justify those small conveniences.
Smartwatches were around long before the Apple Watch, and they were never all that successful to begin with. Add in the fact that Apple didn’t reinvent the smartwatch much like it did with the iPhone for smartphones, and it was easy to see that the Apple Watch wasn’t going to have as big of an impact as the media hyped it to be.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Apple though. The Apple Watch is likely to smash the competition for a while based on these estimates. Google’s Android Wear had a one year head start and could barely muster up 1 million in total sales from several manufacturers. The Pebble was by far the most popular smartwatch before the Apple Watch, and it achieved only 1 million in sales as of February 2015.
One of Apple’s advantages is media coverage. You rarely hear about Android Wear or the Pebble whenever wearables are mentioned in the mainstream media. Most consumers don’t even know they exist.
Even more good news for Apple is the fact that the iPhone is doing so well. Hargreaves upped his 2015 and 2016 profit forecasts for the company by 3.1 percent and 3.8 percent respectively because of the iPhone 6’s tremendous success.
So the Apple Watch might not be on every iPhone owner’s wrist, but we’re not ready to call it a flop just yet. 31.5 million watches between now and 2016 is pretty darn good in our opinion.