Analysis by the research company Slice Intelligence suggested US sales of the Apple Watch had dropped by 90 per cent since its April launch, and a tech industry analyst told The Independent the device was “not doing amazingly well” in the UK either.
If the figures are to be believed, they suggest a less than dazzling start for Apple’s first completely new product since the death of its visionary founder, Steve Jobs, in 2011.
Offering heart rate sensors and iPhone updates on your wrist, (and telling the time), priced at £299 up to the £9,500 model with 18-carat rose gold case, the Watch made a significant initial impact.
Slice said about 35,000 devices a day were being sold in the US in April. But, it claimed, by 1 July daily sales had slumped to 2,500 – a drop of about 90 per cent.
The Apple Watch is the first completely new category of product from Apple since the death of the company’s visionary co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs in October 2011.
Its early days yet on the Apple Watch, but investors may have reason to be cautious. Last month, Business Insider writer Jay Yarow wrote an article titled “I Bought an Apple Watch Immediately, but After a Month I’m Done”.
Offering his own assessment of Apple Watch’s UK performance, Ronan de Renesse, lead analyst for consumer tech at Ovum, said: “I am not saying it is doing badly, but it’s not doing amazingly well either.” He expected global Apple Watch sales to reach 10 to 15 million by the end of the year. This was about average for a first generation Apple device, but he did not see the Apple Watch becoming a big hit.
“Do you see everyone wearing a smartwatch in a couple of years’ time? I don’t,” Mr de Renesse said. “There isn’t the ecosystem of killer apps for it that would drive it forward.”
Before the watch’s debut, Apple made certain that major entertainment figures were seen wearing one. Pharrell Williams sported a $17,000 gold Edition model with a white band. Beyonce and Anna Wintour were spotted wearing similar models. Karl Lagerfeld showed off the gadget’s throbbing heart monitor at Chanel’s 2016 Resort Collection.
Other celebrities seen wearing the Apple Watch or singing its praises on social media were J.J. Abrams, Katy Perry, Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Drake (who wore his, with a bright-red bracelet to match his outfit, at Coachella), Sam Smith (his was hand-delivered by Apple design guru Jony Ive) and Christy Turlington, who serves as the Apple Watch brand ambassador–she appeared onstage with Apple CEO Tim Cook at the watch’s unveiling and ran the London marathon wearing one. Even Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter to gush, “Word spreading Apple watch will amaze and fascinate with design and many undreamt of features.”
But once the Apple Watch went on sale and its limitations known–it must be charged daily and paired to an iPhone to have any significant functionality–“the impracticality of it at this stage in the game makes it more of a weird status object than a must-have gadget,” says producer David Jargowsky” (Funny or Die). “I’m not sure what feature would push me over the edge to want one, but at this point I’m going to keep my distance.”
No killer Apple Watch app or apps have revealed themselves, but considering that the iPhone had a slow start then exploded in popularity once its usefulness and useful apps became apparent, the Apple Watch could follow a similar trajectory. For now, it seems one of the chief advantages of wearing an Apple Watch, beyond its tenuous cool factor, is that it helps keep the iPhone, with its manifold distractions, in one’s pocket or purse.
Apple has remained quiet when it comes to sales numbers for the Apple Watch.
Apple’s third-quarter results are due out on July 21 at 2 PM PST.
The data may not be ideal, but it backs up what some Wall Street analysts have previously said about the Apple Watch.