I guess now is the time to make predictions about the Apple Watch so that you can mock me when, inevitably, I’m way off base.
- I think that the watch will sell briskly at launch, probably well past the point of available supply, at least for the less expensive models. Apple has earned that brand loyalty, and it will pay off.
- I do not think that the high-end gold model will do much to dent the sales of high-end fashion watches, especially if it sells for somewhere in the $10-$20k range like John Gruber expects. Sure, some of the very rich who can afford to lay down many thousands of dollars on a whim will get that model, but presumably a lot of people who buy expensive fashion watches do so with the understanding that they will be getting something that is a fashionable accessory that they can wear for years. The computer hardware in a 2015 Apple Watch will be obsolete in 12-24 months. Even if there’s some kind of upgrade program for the computer guts of the watch, there’s just no way to be sure that five years from now, smartwatches will even be a thing. So I think that people will push strongly towards the bottom of the Apple Watch market.
- I think that early excitement over the watch will slowly fade with the realization that there’s just not a whole lot of genuine utility to any smartwatch. I have little to add to the previous post except to note that I socially know an Apple employee who wears an Apple Watch. She has been absolutely conscientious about not demoing it for me or answering any questions about it, but the thing that I’ve noticed is that she never uses it. Maybe she’s not supposed to make a big production about using it in public, but she never even glances at the thing. She’s allowed to wear it in public, so they must on some level want her to test it “in the wild,” but it just doesn’t seem like it’s doing much of use (perhaps it’s keeping some fitness information, but we’ve seen how the fitness bands sell — okay, but not awesomely).
- In 2016, the Apple Watch update will sell about as well as the 2015 one did. In 2017 and later its sales will start slowly decreasing year-over-year.
- Bonus almost certainly wrong prediction: 2018 will be the first year that the iPhone suffers a year-over-year sales decline as the smartphone market matures and older hardware holds up better.
There you go. Save a link to this post. In a year or two, you can use it as a principal example of how I don’t have the slightest clue.