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Missing all the signs: Desperately seeking a Watch flop

The Macalope | July 21, 2015
Guess what? Turns out it's easy to make the Apple Watch into a flop if you set completely unrealistic expectations and ignore any warning signs.

Bajarin was kind enough to explain to the Macalope that his estimate comes from looking at shipments of Watch components reported by suppliers and factoring in Apple's standard number of weeks for inventory. It's not perfect, but it's significantly better than the Slice numbers that Wilson and others have been throwing around that surveyed only those customers that opt into their service.

As for Apple's Watch talk...

"Apple needed to be more modest in how they set people's expectations," says Forrester principal analyst J. P. Gownder. "When Tim Cook pulled the whole, Just one more thing,' people were really expecting that. When you pull that stage trick out [saying], This is the next big thing.'"

The Macalope was actually set to agree with Gownder here, but then he tried to remember any of the previous "One more things" and realized he couldn't. The reason, it turns out, is because this is exactly backwards. All the big Apple product releases--the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad--were at events that were almost exclusively dedicated to those devices. The list of "One more things" (which CNET has collected in perhaps the world's most painfully inscrutable slideshow) includes the original AirPort Base Station, the G4 Cube, aluminum PowerBooks, the iPod shuffle, the iPod touch, and a few others that didn't ring the "next big thing" bell.

So despite our collective misremembering, "one more thing" is not "the next big thing" at all, it's just... one more thing. In other words, Apple got it exactly right, but pundits and analysts are still trying to manufacture an embarrassment.

Wilson also argues that because Apple is advertising the Watch, it means they expect it to sell by the metric butt-ton, which it clearly isn't because he says it isn't. This advertising standard is, of course, never applied to Samsung's relentless firehose of Galaxy ads or Amazon pushing Fire Phones on every box they ship. It is only ever applied to Apple.

If you want to talk about a real flop, at this point in the Fire Phone's life, Amazon had cut the price in half. Since then it's cut it even more, selling it unlocked for $80 after a free year of Prime. That's a fire sale you expect to see a beefy man carrying an adorable puppy with smoke inhalation out of.

The point is not that, yay, the Apple Watch is a success by comparison to a product doing horribly, the point is that words do have meaning and you're using them wrong.

"I think it's quite interesting that they won't release any sales information," says Rachel Arthur, a senior analyst at the fashion trend forecasting firm WGSN. "Which is evidence in itself, I think, that it hasn't done as well as they expected it to."


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