back to article Apple Watch shipments: Pick a number, double it. Hey, it worked for them

Blogger and analyst Carl Howe estimates Apple has planned an initial production run of 3.1 million sparkling wrist jobs, and forecasts that the “Apple Watch product line will become its most profitable ever, with gross margins exceeding 60 per cent". In a detailed blog post, Howe does admit however that "in truth, projections …

  1. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Is it even possible

    To double a Zero? As in Zero interest in ever owning an Apple iWatch ever?

    1. Annihilator

      Re: Is it even possible

      Yes. We can take your preference and extrapolate to get a view of the entire market's perference. You don't want one, therefore no-one will want one. And if anyone does want one, they're wrong.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge


    ± 1 in 10 fanbois will purchase an apple watch in first quarter of blah blaah blaaah. When do I get paid?

  3. thames

    Rather Expensive

    Phones typically have an 18-month replacement cycle, while watches stay in daily use for decades and even generations.

    I suspect the intention is that every buyer of an Apple watch will have to buy a new watch to go with their new phone if they want all the features to work, and to not be more than one generation behind if they want it to work at all. This effectively doubles the price of an already expensive phone. There's undoubtedly a market for these things, but I don't think it's anywhere near the size of the market for just the phones.

    This is the problem with the current "smart watch" concept. It's basically an expensive accessory for an expensive phone. When I buy a watch, I expect it to last at least 10 to 15 years, and I buy pretty cheap watches. Now find me a company in the computer or mobile phone business whose products remain 100% compatible for those sorts of time scales.

    What it might do though is to undermine the demand for Apple's phones. If the things turn out to be really useful (and I'm not convinced they are), most people will find them unaffordable (witness Apple's long term shrinking market share). If people really want a smart watch to go with their phone, they may simply buy a cheaper phone (e.g. a Chinese Android) and a watch to go with it rather than pay a massive increase in their phone contract to pay for it. After all, if you're not pulling your phone out of your pocket and fondling it as often to see if someone sent you a new FaceTwat message, then who cares what it looks like?

    Personally though, I expect the market will be limited once the novelty wears off. The screen on a watch is too small to do much more than display the time, and a regular watch does that rather well already.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rather Expensive

      I'm utterly unconvinced. But the biggest problem I see is that the Apple watch will only appeal to people who like Apple design. It's basically a minimalist version of the Cartier Tank Watch, and the variants of this (along with the Russian rip-offs), while they include some very nice designs, haven't taken over the world. Do I really want an unusably small screen peripheral with a case that is a copy of something else? Obviously quite a lot of Americans, and would-be Americans, will say yes, but I think your last paragraph is spot on.

      And to watch snobs, the Apple watch will just say "I know nothing about watches".

    2. Schultz

      Re: Rather Expensive

      But the history of smartphones and tablets has shown that people are willing to buy rather expensive items if they are sufficiently useful and/or fashionable. With the tablet market winding down and the high-end smartphone market lacking groundbreaking innovations, the smartwatch may be just the thing to pull another grand out of the pockets of those who can afford it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is the Nerdyist watch, ever?

    Sod the iWatch because geek chic that ain't...

    What is the nerdyist watch, In the tech sense, in everyone's* opinion?

    Seiko UC-2000?

    *where everyone = anyone who responds to this post.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: What is the Nerdyist watch, ever?

      Casio AX-210

      Alas no longer available, but I was briefly King of the Cool Nerds at school when I owned one.

      Truly a smart watch of its time.

    2. Sarah Balfour

      Re: What is the Nerdyist watch, ever?

      We weren't allowed watches at school, because jewellery of any type was banned (unless it was a crucifix).

      1. xnetman

        Re: What is the Nerdyist watch, ever?

        I'm sure it won't be long before someone releases a crucifix watch face for the Apple Watch.

    3. Captain DaFt

      Re: What is the Nerdyist watch, ever?

      Here ya go:

      None, none more nerdier.

    4. 7-zark-7
      Thumb Up

      Re: What is the Nerdyist watch, ever?

      I had the UC 3100 for a while. It looked a bit like the tracker watch Newt was given by Ripley in Aliens therefore I loved it.

      It was pretty rubbish as a data watch but i never got bored of the 'miracle' of being able to type onto my watch screen from a detachable keyboard.

  5. Knewbie

    10K for a watch

    That you have to recharge every 18 hours and that will be outmoded and underpowered within 5 months ?

    Great Idea ! To go with that I have a castle in Spain and a bridge you might be interested in....

    1. stucs201

      Re: 10K for a watch

      10K for a smartwatch as an accessory for a phone is probably not so bad for the sort of person who spends a similar amount on the phone. Unfortunately these watches don't seem to be compatible with the Vertu phones that segment of the market buys.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 10K for a watch

        "Unfortunately these watches don't seem to be compatible with the Vertu phones that segment of the market buys."

        Ahh, but therein lies the crux. Now that there is 10k worth(?) of bling to wear, they get the phone as an accessory, not the other way around.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 10K for a watch

        "10K for a smartwatch as an accessory for a phone is probably not so bad for the sort of person who spends a similar amount on the phone"

        Eventually those Chinese and Russian multimillionaires are going to have their kids come back from their English public schools and tell the old man that to look good he needs some stuff that suggests he has real taste.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 10K for a watch

      There are plenty of f-ers who pay £10k for wine to go with their lunch so to them it's a bottle of wine or a watch. So like spending £7 or £8 for the rest of us..

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: 10K for a watch

      I'll assume this is a package deal in that you can't get to the castle without the bridge and the bridge only goes to the castle. Hmm... I'll by the bridge and charge a toll to get to the castle then PROFIT!!!!!

  6. BongoJoe

    Hang on a minute

    I live in Wales and I certainly don't want one, not even if the spoken and written interface is in Cymraeg Gogledd.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, I'm still not buying it ..

    .. literally.

    I'm OK with most Apple kit, but I'm not part of the crowd that thinks that digital watches are a cool idea (with excuses to the late Douglas Adams). I don't care which specific finger this analyst has used and where it has been to come up with this number, it doesn't change the fact for me personally that I won't buy one, I really don't see the point.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Well, I'm still not buying it ..

      Quartz watches are a great example of good technology - smaller, tougher, more accurate and far cheaper than what came before.

      Quartz analogue versus quartz digital is mostly a UI question. For most time telling, analogue suits me better. There is probably some serious data somewhere (think airforce or NASA studies) about how long it takes a human to grok information from displays.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Well, I'm still not buying it ..

        There is probably some serious data somewhere (think airforce or NASA studies) about how long it takes a human to grok information from displays.

        I know from experience that you can translate an angle (analogue) much quicker to a too high/too low assessment than a digital number - that's also why I dislike digital speedometers (I was about to say "speedos", but somehow that conjured up a different image :) ).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This will be funny when it's an enormous flop

    Most people I know think the Apple Watch will be a huge success only because "there are a lot of stupid people who buy everything Apple makes for no reason other than Apple makes it."

    This is simply not true and it smacks of a mentality common to Microsoft.

    Microsoft assumed everybody would buy a Windows Phone simply because they made it, and look how that turned out. They also assumed developers would make a bunch of Metro apps simply because Windows 8 had a Metro mode, and they assumed everybody would buy Surfaces, because who wouldn't want Windows in tablet form?

    The idea that probably a billion+ people use Microsoft stuff in some form or another leads to the reasoning that SOME percentage of a billion will do/buy something, so it HAS to be a huge success. And then guess what? Fail.

    The idea that there's a large hypothetical group of people who enjoy giving money to Apple for no reason strikes me as similarly too reductionist.

    EDIT: I should add that I was recently at an Apple store where they had a bunch of watches on display. The store was PACKED with people looking at laptops, phones, and iMacs, but hardly anybody was looking at the watches even though they're Apple's big new exciting product. The couple of people who were asking about the watch were all pretty old. I wonder if they were simply being influenced by Apple's marketing and thinking that they'll need an Apple Watch to stay technologically literate.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. John 104


      Except that in this case, Apple are copying Android...

      1. Darryl

        Re: Troll....

        Shhh... don't contradict. What you're seeing here is the beginning of the RDF in action. Soon, Apple will have invented the wristwatch and everybody will have copied them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Troll....

        >>Except that in this case, Apple are copying Android...

        It is interesting that in Apple's previous forays into new product categories, they brought some novel hardware to the table.

        The iPod had its 1.8" hard drives which enabled large storage capacity and small size simultaneously.

        The iPhone had its big capacitive multitouch touchscreen.

        With the iPad, they just straight up invented a whole new product category.

        But with the Apple Watch, it doesn't seem to be any smaller or lighter or thinner or faster or have any ability or property that the competition didn't have a year ago.

        I seriously don't know why Apple thinks I should buy their watch over the competition's.

  10. Mage Silver badge

    We're doomed

    Certainly it bodes ill for human race if this overpriced nearly useless iPhone Accessory outsells any watch that doesn't need a phone.

  11. jonathanb Silver badge

    Not convinced it will sell

    Saw them in the Apple Store yesterday. Not that many people looking at it, certainly not compared to the 5k iMac when it came out. I had a quick look at it, and found it unusable.

    I was sceptical about the iPad when it first came out, but I'm using one to type this comment. However, unless there is some really radical change to the watch, I will continue to use my iPhone as my timekeeping device.

  12. thomas k.

    Looks like even Apple didn't think these things would sell

    Otherwise they'd have warehouses full of them and the people who placed those million+ orders wouldn't be waiting 'til June too get them. Probably just made enough to fill all the display cases in all the stores.

  13. Captain DaFt

    Smart watches are so yesterday

    Smart rings are where it's at now!

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: Smart watches are so yesterday

      SmartRings are so this morning, yey.

      SmartNippleClamps are the thing of tomorrow!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Most profitable"

    Of course it is possible that the Apple Watch will have the highest gross margin of any Apple product. The gross margins on, say, Francis Bacon's paintings were pretty astronomical - if his lifestyle cost him a million a year, he would have been making gross margins of around 97% at one point. But that doesn't mean "Most profitable" in the real world.

    I suspect that the Apple Watch has actually cost very little in R&D so the amortisation is not that bad. But, even so, if they only sell a few million it will barely feature in the annual P&L compared to the phones. Casio's annual turnover from all activities is around $4.6 billion, Apple's around $180 billion. And Casio sells vast numbers of watches.

  15. Gis Bun

    A recent poll of 700 teens said that only 11% will buy a watch. Poll didn't say if these were already iPhone owners. Considering that this is a huge market for Apple, it doesn't look too good. I don't know of any Apple owner who wants one.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      And of those 11%, most of them will probably want something that tells them what time it is rather than a smart watch.

  16. Alan Denman

    700 teens ?

    Self conscious teens get peer trained to want the priciest.

    So how many people want to spend their own money on a £300 iWatch that comes with with a $1 silicon type strap ?

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