How is Apple’s Watch doing these days? Unscientifically, Watch is doing well thanks to the iPod effect, whereby you see more and more of Watch in the wild, which would indicate some measure of success. Because Watch is an accessory and any sales numbers would pale by comparison to iPhone, Apple won’t and probably will never release sales numbers
But sales are up. Or, they’re down. It depends.
Apple’s smartwatch is a wearable, and within the wearable segment of all things tracked, Watch isn’t doing so well. That’s the gist of IDC’s Worldwide Wearables Forecast, 2017-2021. Natalie Gagliordi:
The wearables market is still dominated by watches and wristbands, but more form factors have emerged in the category, including earwear and connected clothing.
OK, let me get this straight. Watch is a wearable. Fitbit, too. But so are AirPods and other wireless earbuds (but not wired?). And there is something called smart clothing?
Traditional earphones will give way to smart earwear that feature fitness tracking, audio augmentation, or personal assistants. Clothing … will become smarter with health and fitness tracking, particularly for professional athletes
Here’s the problem with this kind of analysis and projection. It’s rubbish. It’s a guesstimate. It’s pie in the sky. Worse, it lumps all kinds of unrelated products– other than they get used by humans and can be carried or worn by humans– into the same wearables category.
Apple’s Watch is a wearable by definition but how does it fit into a similar category as clothing? Or, earbuds? Did IDC miss the upcoming Apple Glasses category? No. that’s in the Others category but not much growth is predicted there.
Wearables includes wristbands, basic watches, smartwatches, clothing, earwear, and other.
Watches are on track to take the lead and are expected to grow from 61.5 million in 2017 to 149.5 million in 2021. The increase is in part tied to more vendors entering the market and the addition of cellular connectivity.
Which watches? Watch? Others? Or, are we talking about a watch that uses electricity and maybe runs a few apps with alerts or notifications?
We’re not comparing Apple to apples are we?
This kind of predictive nonsense explains why, for better or worse, Apple charts its own course. Watch is a good accessory for iPhone and covers a multitude of use case scenarios to justify the price (which, by comparison to other so-called smartwatches, is competitive), including alerts, alarms, notifications, texting, phone calls– can’t wait to see Face ID and a Facetime camera next year.
It’s also easy to see why technology forecasters pay attention to the one metric that doesn’t matter much but is the easiest to guess. Marketshare. Apple doesn’t play the marketshare game. Why not? The money is in these metrics– revenue, gross margins, profits. Marketshare is a metric, but it’s the least valuable metric to a company, and yet it’s the easiest to guess by analysts and tech writers because no one remembers and nobody knows the numbers for sure.
Don’t let Watch get lost among such numerical drivel. It’s a wearable, yes. But it’s a smartwatch with many use cases. Similarly, iPad market share as a table is low because tablets have such a broad definition– a Kindle is a tablet, but it’s not much competition to an iPad because they are in different categories.