The State of the Apple Watch in 2016

February 2, 2016
Ashley Rondeau

Back in March of 2015, as the Apple Watch was heating up in sales, we had a fairly positive view of the new wearable technology. We called it a pure luxury item at that time, and thought it would win that niche until prices dropped, and then it would appeal to the masses. We were (and are) keen on the Apple Watch to do well because we’re app developers, and it’s exciting to develop for a brand new platform/gadget and to figure out a whole new UX.
So, what’s the latest with Apple Watch as of early 2016? Were our predictions right? Well, sort of…

Apple Watch is still a luxury item.

With the least expensive model still at $349, prices haven’t budged, and its reputation as a luxury accessory has only grown as of late. In fact, it has recently dethroned Rolex to be the most “obsessed-over” luxury watch brand. The nerds have truly taken over the world.
We said we hoped to see a base model drop to $99 in three years from launch, but that seems to be an Apple pie-in-the-sky sentiment. So with the high prices, it’s no wonder we don’t see many of these watches in the wild. You’d think they’ve barely sold any. Well…

Apple’s shipping a ton of them…but…

Turns out, Apple’s shipped 51.5% of the smartwatches in all markets in 2015, according to a report by Juniper Research. In comparison, Android Wear watches accounted for just 10% of smartwatch shipments last year.
But you’re a savvy reader and know that shipping amount doesn’t always equal sold amounts (remember the Amazon Fire smartphone?), you’ll think it suspicious that Apple hasn’t released any hard sales data, instead choosing to lump the Apple Watch into the “Other Products” category in their latest earnings report. Apple says Watch sales are doing great, but won’t back them up with statistics. So what’s really going on? Can we try to estimate their sales numbers?

Estimated Apple Watch sales are all over the map.

Analysts have pegged last quarter’s Apple Watch sales at 10.5 million to 3.10 million. It’s really just guessing at this point. But what’s most interesting is that by and large, these analysts have lowered their predictions of first-year sales by 37%, from when they first made their prediction back when the Watch debuted.
Most analysts have tempered their expectations of how many Apple Watches have been, and will be, sold. And this is a sign that the wearable won’t be as popular as their hopes led them to believe.

We still don’t know why we need it.

IOS_+_watchOS_iMessage_ContinuityThe crux of it is that the public still doesn’t know whether it even wants an Apple watch, let alone needs one. The reason is that the Apple Watch has yet to deliver that killer feature that so many other Apple devices have had in the past. The iMac worked right out of the box. The iPod had iTunes, which was the best music management software around at the time, and the click wheel. The iPhone had apps.
The Apple Watch has… 10,000 apps? Well, none of them are killer apps. You don’t see people shoving their Apple Watch in each others’ face to show off some messaging app. It’s cool, but it’s not mind-blowing. In fact, the closest thing to a killer feature might be its fitness and health tracking, but even that is done just as well by other wearables that cost a fraction of Apple’s device. And that’s important if the device is used for exercise and runs the risk of getting sweaty or broken with repeated use. After all, you don’t go jogging in Alexander McQueens.

Time running out?

So is the Apple Watch going to fade away like The Newton? Not if Apple has anything to say about it, because Apple Watch 2 will soon be upon us. Sure, this might drop prices of the original Apple Watch, which might increase overall sales, but we have to say that we’re a little skeptical.
We dig Apple products here at The Farm, but we have been asking ourselves what exactly is the key selling point of this device, and we’re left scratching our heads. Hopefully, the new Watches will have that killer feature we’re looking for to justify its existence. We’re putting our money on health sensors that might make the Apple Watch 2 the perfect device for people who work out and possibly for the elderly and those who need to monitor a chronic condition.
What do you think about the state of the Apple Watch? Sound off in the comment below!

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