back to article Apple Watch sales go over a cliff: Down 2.8 meellion per quarter in a year

Apple's Watch range sold 1.1m units in 2016's third quarter, a stunning 2.9m fewer than the same quarter in 2015. The dip means Apple's share of the wearables market dipped from 17.5 per cent to 4.9 per cent in a year, representing -71 per cent growth according to abacus-twirler IDC's new Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device …

  1. ratfox Silver badge

    Looks like everybody who could be convinced to buy a smartwatch has already done so... And it's apparently not something people are willing to buy every year.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Especially a watch that can only last 18 hours without a charge, presumably since Ive wanted to redesign the iDay to be just 18 hours plus a 2 hour charge time. As a former fanboi there would have certainly been a time that I would have rushed to buy the watch, regardless of it looking like a late 1970's digital watch and being over 3 times the thickness of even those monstrosities.

      The major turn-off for me was not so much the chunkiness, the awful charge time or the fact that I just did not need a wrist job as a extension of my phone. No, what did it for me was Apple trying to tell me how I should wear their watch: too close to Wonko The Sane and instructions for using toothpicks for my liking.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: battery life

          When they first came out I could calculate Planck's constant from information received from idiots wearing these things. After a week or so it went blissfully quiet. It seems even the most gadget happy idiot finds them useless.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

            @Tom7 Re: battery life

            I wouldn't call an Apple Watch owner an idiot.

            Its their personal choice to have one and if they can justify it... great.

            When you consider that the iPhone 6 has a huge footprint, you need to stash it somewhere other than your front pocket. So having a device that you can use to see quick messages or use to display qCodes that can be read... oh and tell time... makes sense.

            The only thing though is that there are only so many people willing to shell out the cash for the device and its a subset of iPhone users.

            If you want to complain about battery life, then take a look at a Cesium pocket watch or 'wrist watch' that you can buy. Its the most accurate clock on the market, but the battery life is around 24 hours. Not really a good thing. But its definitely a conversation piece.

      2. VinceH Silver badge
        Joke

        "presumably since Ive wanted to redesign the iDay to be just 18 hours"

        In other words he was ahead of his time by a few hundred million years. (Or possibly a few billion - not entirely sure there without looking it up).

        1. Alien8n Silver badge

          18 hours?

          You must have had a dodgy battery then as mine regularly makes it to 2 days between charges. I think the trick is to actually use it as it's meant to be used, as a way of alerting you when the phone is not immediately visible (great for screening calls) and then for occaisional checking of the time during the day. If you're only getting 18 hours from it you must be doing something wrong.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 18 hours?

            > If you're only getting 18 hours from it you must be doing something wrong.

            Ah, I see - they're using it wrong.

      3. arthoss
        Headmaster

        *3 days*

      4. JanMB

        the watch might only last 18 hour for the people who are using all of its options all the time. The rest of us get closer to 48 ours on a charge.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Looks like everybody who could be convinced to buy a smartwatch has already done so...

      That's always going to be the case with Apple products - the fanbois buy en masse on first day of release - there's no way the initial surge of sales volume can be sustained over the timeframe until the next product release

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apple - It's only a matter of time....

      Before the Apple Watch is quietly killed off in its current form.

  2. FuzzyWuzzys

    Watches are still jewellery

    A lot of these smart watches look like the old Casio digital watches we all had as kids back in the 1980's, to me they look tacky and plastic looking. A watch should be a beautiful timepiece, a smart piece of functional jewellery. I stopped wearing cheap and cheerful digitals when I got to the 6th Form when my girlfriend back then gave me a simple plain watch with just a dial and hands. 25 years later I now have a Swiss Mondaine watch, it's looks like a bog standard watch but has a basic fitness measuring capabilities built in but they're hidden from view, it measures all my vitals and allows me to transfer them to an app on my phone but the watch itself looks nice, plain and simple not like I bought it in Argos for £15.

    1. William 3 Bronze badge

      Re: Watches are still jewellery

      Oh shut up you snob.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Watches are still jewellery

      And yet Mondaine's lack the basic functionality of a £15 watch, namely a light or luminous hands.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: Watches are still jewellery

      I see a watch as functional, not a bit of decoration.

      But then again, I don't bother with rings, necklaces and earrings either.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Watches are still jewellery

        The Mondian watches do have a nice uncluttered display, but I really like the Casio MQ 24 analogue watch, yours for around £7.00. Its just so simple and modestly competent that it is hard not to like it. A few quid more will get you a similarly-styled Timex with an 'Indiglo' backlight.

        It might not take as many beatings as a steel-cased watch with a sapphire crystal, but you could buy a dozen of them for the same money.

        That said, I often wear a small (38mm) wind-up watch from around 1968, again with a very readable display (white hands on dark grey face), beautiful without being affected. I don't wear it at work though, I wouldn't want to damage it. Last week I broke a Casio F-91 W 'Terrorist Watch' at work (£5.00), and I didn't care - it's almost a 'consumable', like the tyres on your car.

        I don't like the current vogue for large (42mm+) analogue watches - they are garish and impractical.

        1. DrBobK

          Re: Watches are still jewellery

          That Casio looks very good. Clear and simple. I've got a simple looking Swatch (Skin) that I like that is ridiculously thin (3.9mm) and cost £35 (at the airport).

      2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Watches are still jewellery

        But then again, I don't bother with rings, necklaces and earrings either.

        Paraphrasing Talkie Toaster: Ah... so you're a bracelet man, then!

    4. Neal 2

      Re: Watches are still jewellery

      My jewellery watch only goes on when I'm going "out out" somewhere nice.

      My daily beater is my Pebble, and it's on 99.9% of the time because it's everything proof, actually tells the right time, doesn't make me look like a mugging target.

      Don't get me wrong, I still absolutely love my over priced swiss watch, but it's actually useful a lot less of the time.

    5. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Watches are still jewellery

      It depends on the watch.

      As an engineer I can appreciate the level of effort that went in to building my AP Royal Oak.

      Much different than my Breitling Colt Quartz which I wear when I'm working out or doing stuff around the house.

      In both situations I most likely do not have my cell phone with me and its still easier to look at your wrist to see what time it is...

      And yes, I'm a tad older than most of you and have always worn a watch since I was old enough to buy my own Timex.

      Owning a watch is owning a piece of mechanical art.

      And some of them will increase in value over time too.

  3. djstardust

    Casio

    It seems they did deliberately rip off the shape and size of the Casio calculator watches from the early 80s.

    However my Scientific calculator "smartwatch" CFX-200 is still in perfect working order. It was bought from Ratners in 1983 and is worn every day. Oh, and it needs new batteries around every 5 or 6 years.

    Even the Apple luvvies know this is a pile of crap, but they still wear them to show off. Sad.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Casio

      >It seems they did deliberately rip off the shape and size of the Casio calculator watches from the early 80s.

      The size will have been a balancing act twixt battery life and bulk - and even now that compromise is unacceptable for some.

      As for shape, once Apple had settled on a rectangular display there were only so many forms the watch could take.

      Dolphins didn't 'rip off' the shape of sharks, but they appear similar because they are both subject to the same constraints. :)

  4. Terry 6 Silver badge

    What is "smart"

    That my Citizen Eco-drive looks really good, charges itself and tells me the time, clearly and easily without my taking any steps to fish it out of a pocket, or take it out of standby, makes it smart in my world view.

    FWIW I used to have a Seiko Kinetic, which also seemed to be brilliant, until I discovered that the cell needed to be replaced after a few years- and supposedly they should be serviced every year, too- for £70

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is "smart"

      The eco-drive used to use a capacitor rather than a battery to store excess power since changed to a manganese lithium battery, the panasonic MT950 (with or with specific connecters). The MT950 is 1.5 v with a 5mAh nominal voltage/ capacity (since the change to lithium it will eventually need replacement). Where a basic fitness band has a 60mAh battery lasting anywhere between 5-20 days depending on features. So to get the same kind of duration from a solar system would need 12 times the area of the watch face.

      However there is a Citizen W770 with bluetooth and eco-drive that will vibrate or point a hand on a dial if a phone has received a notification. Apparently that will last 9 months on a full charge (no idea about the battery model) but you've got to wonder why a small lcd or e-ink screen was not used to display some additional information, like the type of notification is as you still have dig the phone out of the pocket.

    2. Milton Silver badge

      Re: What is "smart"

      I've had one of the titanium EcoDrives for about 10 years. Never had to replace a battery, never had to set the time (atomic update worldwide), gives me useful functions like alarms, timers and a quick switch between timezones when I'm flying long distances; thoroughly waterproof, and very light because of its manufacture. I admit that by now it looks like I fight Tyrannosaurs for a living, but here's the thing: IT JUST WORKS. It ain't pretty any more, but it does what I want, always, everywhere, anywhere, reliably, despite appalling abuse (don't ask my kids about the time I had to go down to free a fouled anchor, they still have nightmares).

      I don't want to be a snob about this stuff, and I appreciate some things are beautiful and shiny, but I am tempted to suggest that you cannot beat solid engineering that's made to do the job as if your life depended on it.

      So if you want jewellery and ostentatious expense, by all means go buy your iGadget. Maybe somebody will be impressed by Form—who knows, 'accidentally' flashing your half-chewed fruit logo might just get you laid!—but speaking purely for myself, I'll go with good ol' reliable, bulletproof Function every time.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "if watch-makers can crack productivity, they're in with a show"

    The fact that they haven't up to now tells me that there probably isn't anything left to crack at this time.

    Before smartphones, the only use for a watch was giving the time. Today, we have a vast communication network available, for sure, but a watch can't have a vast screen and most certainly cannot have loads of CPU because you're wearing it on your skin, so no scorching flesh thank you very much.

    Limited in power and display surface, watchmakers have done the only things that are likely to ever be done : transform a watch into a multi-function detector of various things that are simple to detect, and use a smartphone to gather and manipulate results with the smartphone's immensely superior CPU power.

    If anything is added to the (short) list of watch functionality, it will likely derive from some new technology that has not been invented yet which will benefit from that format. Until then, I don't see that anything will change.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "if watch-makers can crack productivity, they're in with a show"

      "...at this time."

      Exactly the settling factor on why nobody buys them, at this time.

      The only thing a watch should do besides the typical is display simple text and project a interactive holographic display 3x3 feet wide into thin air. So "...at this time" you are absoutely correct.

  6. Aebleskiver

    Battery, battery, battery.

    I'll consider getting a smartwatch as soon as someone develops one with a battery life similar to any old digital watch.

    1. whatevs...

      Re: Battery, battery, battery.

      Yeah, to hell with what physics and, to a lesser extent, chemistry have to say...

      1. jason 7 Silver badge

        Re: Battery, battery, battery.

        Yes but unfortunately some devices do have to conform to a reasonable set of performance characteristics.

        Like a sniper rifle has to have more than 10 yards of effective range and so on.

        If a device cannot perform to those criteria then you just don't bring it to market until it can...or you have a marketing department that can convince a certain sector of the public that that is acceptable.

        I do wonder if Apple will try to convince customers if they ever bring out their car that due to it being so 'small and thin' that 10 miles of range and a NCAP safety rating of 0 stars is the future?

  7. chivo243 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Someone is lying!

    I wonder who it might be?

    http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/6/13852560/apple-watch-sales-tim-cook

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Someone is lying!

      Aye:

      The timing of Cook’s essentially public comments is notable, coming the day after research firm IDC published a report estimating that Apple Watch sales last quarter were down 71 percent year on year. The figures weren’t surprising considering that Apple released the new Series 2 line right at the end of the July-September period, with supply constraints lasting well into the current quarter — basically, this summer was a bad time to buy an Apple Watch.

      The new model is slightly more suitable for fitness-related use than the MK I, as it has waterproofing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Someone is lying!

        The first model of Apple Watch also has waterproofing. The difference is the Series 2 has improved that to 50 meters instead of 1 meter (IPX7)

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Someone is lying!

          The first Apple Watch what is generally referred to as Water Resistant - rain, splashes, perhaps a quick dunk in the sink are okay, but nothing more. If you wear it in the shower, don't subject it to the jet of water.

          Water Proof means you can wear a watch whilst swimming - as Apple advertises their MK II models as being suitable for.

          These are the long accepted terms in the watch industry. People can be confused by '30 Metres' or '50 M' waterproof, but the 'depth' is only a proxy for pressure.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Someone is lying!

            IPX7: Immersion in water of up to 1m for 30 minutes. That is for more than a quick dunk in a sink, infact people have been know to swim with them with no adverse effects. If you are going to play the resistant card the series 2 is also only resistant. Your discrimination between the two is completely arbitrary.

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Someone is lying!

              >IPX7: Immersion in water of up to 1m for 30 minutes.

              And that means it is water resistant, in that it resists water for a period of time.

              Water Proof means that a watch is impervious to water. It isn't my distinction, and nor is it arbitrary; it's physics. Here's a handy chart of the activities that water resistant and waterproof watches are suitab;e for, courtesy of Casio:

              http://mygshock.com/wiki/images/f/f1/Casio-Water-Resistance.jpg

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Someone is lying!

                Your statement is arbitrary. The series 2 which you state as waterproof is not impervious to water either. It has sod all to do with physics, and that chart doesn't mention waterproof at all, the initial water resistance it shows is lower than IPX7 so stop trying to sound like a smartarse.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I really like the look of the soon to be released Withings Steel HR - analog watch, simple notifications from phone, HR, waterproof, 25 day battery life, £170.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Do look around, there are a few takes on simply styled, analogue connected watches being released at the moment.

      The appearance of Skagen watches might appeal to you, too. They're a touch too big for my tastes (44mm ish) but they are slim.

    2. Kernel Silver badge

      And now that Withings are, according to their website, part of Nokia it will be interesting to see if their wearables end up with any ability to work with the Nokia branded phones that HMD Global Oy is working on.

      1. Kernel Silver badge

        Hmmm - I state two facts, make a reasonable speculation about what might happen based on those facts and get a thumbs down.

        There are some very sad people out there.

        So, thumbs down enthusiast, what is it that you actually dislike? - that Nokia has bought Withings, that HMD Global Oy are going to continue to sell Nokia branded phones, or that the two companies might see the possibility of some future synergies between the two product lines?

  9. kmac499

    Smart Watch needs a reboot.

    I don't think the smart watch is dead it just hasn't found it's killer app yet.

    What would be useful to me is having my smartwatch act as my digital identifier in an IOT world. My cat has a microchip which is recognised by and unlocks it's cat door. For me to get into my house I have to shove a milled piece of metal into a hole, which I don't always have about my person.

    If my watch which I do always have on my person; carried some form of ID, (verified by my biometric pulse perhaps.) My front door would recognise, My car would recognise me, My bank cards could be rolled into my watch for small transactions etc. Pressing the crown on the watch would alert my Home assistant without having to say Hello Google or whatever.etc,

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Smart Watch needs a reboot.

      "If my watch which I do always have on my person; carried some form of ID, (verified by my biometric pulse perhaps.) My front door would recognise, My car would recognise me, My bank cards could be rolled into my watch for small transactions etc. Pressing the crown on the watch would alert my Home assistant without having to say Hello Google or whatever.etc,"

      Aside from the security issues involved, the trouble is that all you're really saying is that a smartwatch would be useful if it was a smartphone. And that's exactly why they haven't been successful; all they're doing is duplicating the functionality of a device most people already have, but in a format which is inherently limited in screen size, battery life and processing power so that it can never actually work as a complete replacement.

      That's the thing about watches needing a killer app - it has to be something that only a watch can do, or at the very least something that a watch makes significantly more convenient to do. Taking a phone out of a pocket is not difficult and takes only a second or two, so simply doing the same as a phone but on your wrist is not enough. Nothing you've listed comes close to being a killer app for a watch, it's just a list of things that phones can mostly already do. Of course, that's hardly your fault; the entire problem is that no-one has managed to come up with anything for watches to do, which is why they're not doing very well.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Smart Watch needs a reboot.

        >Aside from the security issues involved, the trouble is that all you're really saying is that a smartwatch would be useful if it was a smartphone.

        That isn't what he saying. He wants a watch to function as a house key, a car key fob, or a bank card - if the security can be nailed down (a question of implementation, not concept).

        What is notable about these applications is that they don't require a power-hungry display, or even a power-hungry continuous connection to his phone.

        > Taking a phone out of a pocket is not difficult and takes only a second or two, so simply doing the same as a phone but on your wrist is not enough.

        That is a second or two, repeated many times a day. And you might have muddy hands, or it might be raining out, you might have your hands full with shopping, or you might not want to bring your phone with you. I wear a conventional watch because I don't want to fumble into my pocket just to tell the time.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Smart Watch needs a reboot.

          That is a second or two, repeated many times a day

          Or you put your jacket on <i< after </i> you stuck the phone in your trouser pocket. Or the pocket is chock full of loose change, tissues, pen knife, keys, and other stuff which all spill out over the floor when you try to fish the phone out just to check the s**ding time.

        2. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: Smart Watch needs a reboot.

          "That isn't what he saying. He wants a watch to function as a house key, a car key fob, or a bank card - if the security can be nailed down (a question of implementation, not concept)."

          That was exactly my point - phones already do all of those things. Have you seriously not heard of things like Apple and Google payments, "smart" locks and the numerous cars that can be managed by phone apps? This is not asking for some killer app that only watches could do, it's just a list of things that already exist.

          "That is a second or two, repeated many times a day."

          Oh no! That might add up to maybe 10 or even 20 whole seconds! What a horrible inconvenience that absolutely requires spending hundreds of pounds to solve. Or, as the title of the article points out, no it doesn't. To start with, it's not repeated many times a day at all. Exactly how many times do you unlock your doors and drive your car to the shops every day? Exactly how difficult is it to put a bag down for a couple of seconds to use a door (which you'll need your hands to open anyway)? Nobody gives a fuck about smartwatches because they don't actually add any significant convenience. The fact that the best anyone can say about them is that you can occasionally save a couple of seconds here and there while carrying out functions that could easily be done without a smartwatch is the exact reason hardly anyone has bothered buying them.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Smart Watch needs a reboot.

            There's a three way discussion here. Do you want to use a phone for telling the time. Do you want to use a watch as a computer. Or do you want a little computer-phone in your pocket for communications etc. and a time piece on your wrist for a quick time check?

            For me using a phone when I want to check the time would be nuisance. And I wouldn't want to use computer functions in a tiny wrist watch

      2. kmac499

        Re: Smart Watch needs a reboot.

        This could be a generational thing, I've worn a watch for 50 years and a phone for 23 (first one was a sony mars bar.) I know watches are going out of fashion with youth.

        The BIG problem with modern smartphones is they are BIG, my current one is an S4mini which is as big as I need that will fit in a belt holster and that took some sourcing.. How the hell some phones survive squeezed into the back pocket of a pair of spray on jeans of the average 17yo beats me.

        As for the ergonomics of retrieving a phone into my hand every time I need to use a passive function It's a damn site easier to wave my hand which already has the passive device wrapped around it.

      3. Neal 2

        Re: Smart Watch needs a reboot.

        For me, the killer things that keep me using my Pebble are:

        Seeing the notifications from apps that I choose to tell my watch stuff without getting the phone out of my rucksack

        Automatically switching to runkeeper mode giving me pace and distance whenever I start recording a cycle ride or run.

        Being relatively cheap and everything proof.

        I don't see the watch working for the current generation. Looking at the younger generation, they seem to have the phone permanently in front of their face, so there is no information their watch can tell them that the phone doesn't. My generation (approaching 50) tend to get the phone out occasionally to check something.

      4. stu 4

        Re: Smart Watch needs a reboot.

        No one is mentioning the Garmins.

        imho they are some of the only REAL smart watches.

        My fenix doesn't need a phone to do lots of stuff (built in GPS, barometer, etc, lots of apps), etc.

        I wrote my own app for paragliding and paramotoring - does everything i used to do on my phone:

        - records my take off automatically.

        - shows and record speed, direction, alti

        - tells me direction and distance to home, etc, etc

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KM6FksCQNw

        Oh, and the battery lasts for about 10 days of normal use (as a watch/general fitness/'smart' thing for text/call answering/etc), but when I'm recording 1 second GPS data it needs a charge after a 2 hour flight. seems ok to me.

        a 'smart' watch that is effectively just a remote screen for a phone, as the iphone and android mince are seems to me to be anything but smart.

  10. Bruce Hoult

    couldn't buy one

    I haven't worn a watch since I got my first GSM phone (Ericsson T10s) that showed the time in around 1999 or 2000.

    But I went into half a dozen stores at the beginning of November trying to buy an iWatch and no one had the Series 2 for sale, only for display. I'll try again next week when I pass through Dubai airport.

    You won't sell many if they're not actually available.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: couldn't buy one

      Indeed:

      research firm IDC published a report estimating that Apple Watch sales last quarter were down 71 percent year on year. The figures weren’t surprising considering that Apple released the new Series 2 line right at the end of the July-September period, with supply constraints lasting well into the current quarter

      - http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/6/13852560/apple-watch-sales-tim-cook

  11. DavCrav Silver badge

    "don't enhance personal productivity"

    Is that a euphemism for 'is useless'?

  12. inmypjs Silver badge

    Shock horror

    apple ran out of twats.

  13. Indolent Wretch

    As a bit of an aside from my viewpoint of owning a Fitbit and my wife owning a Fitbit. We both got the top end "Surge" model at Christmas 2015.... very happy with it. Then in mid October her one starting losing it's charge very quickly, and in late November my strap started to tear wear the strap meets the watch. Not great for watches that were around £150 each.

    Didn't have the receipts but did have a screen dump of a bank statement showing a £300 payment to Argos from 11 months ago.

    All praise to Fitbit, no arguments, no complaints, super fast response times and we both have identical replacement devices for free. Plus the original devices, my wifes watch battery started working again properly the day before the replacement turned up and I'm going to keep wearing my one til the thing falls off my wrist.

    Very good customer service.

  14. HamsterNet

    Tried it didn't like it

    Had one from work to do a trial on.

    The mk1 really does last 18h max when new. Will be down to useless few hours when a few year old.

    The biggest problem is it doesn't do anything expect heart rate.

    As it needs to be in Bluetooth range of the phone to receive anything, you may as well and have to anyways, pull out your phone.

    Seemed like a rush to market because of fit not without any real thought to what it was for.

  15. Matthew Taylor

    All gadgeted out.

    My mobile phone is already beeping at me approximately 10x more frequently than I would like. The last thing I need is another yammering digital nag to double up the interruptions.

    1. D@v3

      Re: double up the nagging.

      you say that, but with my Pebble, I have completely muted my phone, no vibrate either. All notifications straight to my wrist, at a glance can see if it is anything of interest.

    2. Neal 2

      Re: All gadgeted out.

      There are many settings to select the notifications you want to see.

  16. MOV r0,r0

    So that 'we might be vaguely working on a car' leak a few days ago was nothing more than an effort to prop up the share price for when the watch sales figures came out?

  17. Ilsa Loving

    Can't believe people bought it in the first place

    Who the hell wants a $300 watch that can't even last a day between charges? The whole concept is ridiculous.

    If I were gonna get anything, I'd get a Pebble. At least those things can run for a week.

  18. Ron Luther

    Simplicity?

    I think the 'health' market is a bit more fragmented and complex than that. Simplicity is simply not the only driver at work in this market. There are sub-markets that are interested in tracking more than just their daily step count.

    Even a back marker triathlete wants a watch like a Garmin Fenix 3 or 920XT that can track their open water swim, time spent in transition 1, link to their power meter on the bike, time spent in transition 2, and their run.

    And, of course, link to and upload their split times to Strava and Garmin Connect.

    This crowd will gladly dump their current watch once the next gen figures out how to add more complexity and include a power meter for running!

  19. Moosh

    Smart watches were always going to be a short lived fad

    I have always said this about smart watches. People willing to pay these amounts for watches are NOT the sort to consistently buy minor upgrades. The watch market is full of collectors and people who value genuine build quality and superior design. On the high end of the spectrum, I know people who would never even consider letting a smart watch touch their wrists. On the low end, there are those who would never even consider paying over £30 for a watch. And in the middle - what use does a smart watch have over the phone you carry with you any way?

    If you wear a watch, you most likely wore one long before the smart watch became available, and you most likely don't want to get a "smart" replacement. I have a citizen eco-drive; solar powered and uses radio waves to keep up to date automatically (which means it auto updates when I travel, too). That's as smart as I need.

    1. david bates

      Re: Smart watches were always going to be a short lived fad

      I don't think you've ever tried a smart watch.

      I absolutely love my Pebble. It'll do over a week, and if the battery gets very low it drops into dump-watch mode, so I still have the time.

      If I'm out running or cycling it gives me distance/speed etc, which means I don't have to have my phone in my hand, and I don't have to turn it on to check. I can screen my calls, messages and emails and only get my phone out if I have to. I can control my music through it...

      Even when I'm not wearing it if my phone chimes I automatically look at my wrist...

  20. Tikimon Silver badge
    WTF?

    What iiiiis it gooood for? Absolutely nothing! (say it again)

    Too many products are being marketed and sold because someone made a Thing. They did not identify a need and design something to fill it, they built something because they could.

    Clearly, nobody identified a widespread need that a wrist computer with a tiny screen (but bulky body) would meet. You can see it in the scattergun design of the Apple watch and others - throw in lots of dubious functions and hope consumers find a use for them.

    Fitness trackers are an evolution of the heart monitor. They were already successful, but only serious athletes put up with the chest straps and bulky units. Fitbit et al moved that into a slim wrist-mounted widget. This made an existing product better and more accessible to the general public. So they're enjoying success, where the wrist computer is flailing and failing. If the early adopters had found them useful they would have told others and generated more sales. Instead they've proven not useful and the market is drying up.

    Hey tech companies - find a need and meet it, don't make a shiny widget and try to convince us we need to buy it.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: What iiiiis it gooood for? Absolutely nothing! (say it again)

      >Hey tech companies - find a need and meet it, don't make a shiny widget and try to convince us we need to buy it.

      I get where you're coming from, but what you say is easier said than done. How does a company identify a need or a desire amongst its potential customers? Let's look at some different approaches:

      - Focus groups. Hmmm. As Henry Ford might have said: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse".

      - The CEO wants it. Hmm, one assumes that the CEO became the CEO because he wasn't an idiot. However, his life style may be very different to that of his customers. This approach can work though - the Sony Walkman was born from a request by their CEO to his engineers, because he wanted some way of listening to music on trans-Pacific flights.

      - Self-starting inventor or designer. This approach can work - at least you know at least one person wants the product. However, the designer might not realise how niche his requirements are, or he might get so caught up in the process of refining his design that he becomes blind to any larger market.

      - Studying the target market. Unlike focus groups, this approach is more objective. At its simplest, it could be a time-and-motion study. It can be very labour intensive, and involve filming people complete day-to-day tasks, before spending lots of analysing said data.

      - Samsung throw everything out there and see what sells. They made a range of smartphones of different sizes and lots of people bought the big ones. Lots of studies might have suggested that using a big phone with one thumb is a chore, but evidently users were willing to take a hit on that in exchange for being better able to show photos to their mates.

      It isn't for me to say if any of these example approaches is superior - they have all at some point resulted in some popular products.

  21. JanMB

    Supply problems more likely

    Another more likely explanation for the difference in sales are lack of availability. The first version was introduced in March of 2015 but wasn't widely available until September of 2015. Version 2 was introduced in September 2016 but was not even available in the Apple Store in Berlin for the first month or so. It might be now haven't checked the last 3 weeks but it is pretty hard do sell something you do not have and I would pay the extra 100USD for a waterproof version with build in GPS. The first quarter without delivery constraints will tell us more about the success of the watch, not a quarter where they are having problems producing enough watches

  22. The Envoy

    Tech journalists vs. buyers

    The tech journalists who were busy wearing the smart watches (regardless of band) and speaking of how wonderfully great they were and would become have been pretty silent of late. Not even wearing their wonderful wearable anymore...

  23. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    I told him to call it the iWatch, but noooo ...

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Pirate

      So sad...and their eventual Google Glass-alike has to be called the iPatch. You know...because that'll be a thing eventually.

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you are a keen long distance runner or cyclist, consider this:

    Series2 Apple Watch provides the following *without* a phone paired nearby:

    *GPS tracking of hillwalking/running/cycling

    *listen to music or podcasts offline via Bluetooth headphones or speaker; currently Apple Music only or iTunes library but expect Spotify to provide an app. Up to 2Gb of podcasts/audiobooks/music can be synced.

    *can connect the phone to wifi while out (another friend mobile hotspot or cafe wifi, for example) and it'll then receive your notifications! Even though your phone isn't paired or nearby.

    Bluetooth music and gps tracking a marathon has been completed by many people with the 42mm version. Battery life for this larger version doing these things, plus Heart Rate monitoring is clearly more than 5 hours.

    When Spotify allow offline music syncing and Strava produce their watch GPS app early January 2017 I'll buy one.

    Strava is important as the in built Apple fitness app doesn't seem to allow exporting of all the data you would likely expect of a watch in this price range. I couldn't find a small watch that done all the above, let alone do it well. For fitness it's not quite there but is very nearly there.

    Garmin's quality is questionable for fitness - many failures - plus their software is historically horrendous. Given the price of the more expensive watches some of the fault percentages are an outrage.

    Fitbit - all models - have well known QC issues. Amazon reviews can be used to confirm this - but just ask your friends who use them. After a year they often need replaced. They can't withstand the sports usage they are intended for.

    1. Oz

      TomTom Spark will do all of that, and costs only £189. It's a no-brainer

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