Do Apple Watch Sales Suck? Maybe Not

| News

Supply sources say Apple Watch isn't meeting sales expectationsApple is dealing with weaker than expected Apple Watch sales and is cutting back its 2016 shipment forecast. That's the word on the street, but take it with a grain of salt because it's coming from parts supply chain sources.

News of Apple's scaled back smartwatch production comes via parts suppliers speaking with DigiTimes. Here's what the publication gleaned from the supply chain information it received:


Because of Apple Watch's weaker than expected shipments, Apple recently reduced the device's shipment forecast for 2016 down further from its estimate in the fourth quarter of 2015.

It's possible that's true, but building a tapestry with the threads from supply chain sources is fraught with peril. Even Apple CEO Tim Cook warned against it saying parts makers simply don't have access to the information they need to make their claims.

What we do know is Apple Watch inventory was hard to come buy at launch, but now it's easy to walk into a store and buy one without a wait. That says Apple's watch production is able to meet demand, which could mean people aren't buying or that Apple has been able to stabilize production. Regardless, Apple managed to take half the smartwatch market in less than a year and it's competitors haven't been able to make a dent in that lead.

The DigiTimes sources also say second generation Apple Watch production is scheduled to ramp up in the second quarter and that Quanta will be the only manufacturing partner. Apple hasn't said anything yet about when it plans to release updated Apple Watch models, or what features they'll include.

Apple's first fiscal quarter earnings conference call is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, and while we won't get any numbers for Apple Watch sales we may get an idea as to whether or not the device is meeting expectations. Be sure to check in for TMO's coverage and analysis this afternoon.

The Mac Observer Spin The Mac Observer Spin is how we show you what our authors think about a news story at quick glance. Read More →

Supply chain sources saying Apple isn't meeting its Apple Watch sales expectations feels a little dubious. These are people who have very limited knowledge about Apple's plans, and certainly don't have access to the company's internal expectations or overall manufacturing schemes. Maybe Apple sold as many watches as it expected, or maybe not.

Popular TMO Stories



First, it’s DigiTimes, a publication that exemplifies the old saying “Even a broken clock is right twice a day”.

Then, as I’ve said since day one you can’t tell how a product is doing until you start seeing Year over Year numbers. Yes there was an initial spike when the device was released, that was expected. But what happens over the long haul is what matters. Did people give them as Xmas gifts to their friends? Do people update regularly? Do they buy a second one at all? That will make or break the product.

Personally I don’t understand the AppleWatch’s appeal, but that’s just me. There’s a lot of products I didn’t get (literally of figuratively) for a few years after they were introduced.


I’ve said it before as well, it isn’t a product for me, I don’t want to wear a watch of any kind, and I don’t. The fact that it’s a watch means it will never have the broader appeal of other Apple products, plain and simple, though that doesn’t mean that within it’s niche it can’t do well. I’d be willing to wager that within the realm of smart watches, it’s doing just fine.

Lee Dronick

My wife gave me one for Christmas, within 24 hours the watch and I were “joined at the wrist”. My wife was so impressed with the features of the watch that a few weeks ago we bought her one. Could I live without it, yes, but I don’t want to. It is convenient for a number apps, Messages, Calendar, quick calls, HUE lights, cooking timer, and more.

All of those aside the fitness apps has had a very beneficial affect on me. I am down a belt notch and my pants are looser, plus I have more stamina and overall I feel much better.

For those that say that “These days no one wears watches.” Take a look around there are a lot of people wearing watches. Also there are lot of them on display in stores, if they weren’t selling then they wouldn’t be offered.


It failed. Apple would be crowing like a Rooster as they do with every other product if it was a success. Too many jokes on prime time TV LAST YEAR, coupled with ZERO street buzz = Bomb. Even Charlie Rose takes his off now. Most people don’t wear watches anymore and the very few Apple watches I’ve seen in “hip” L.A. are worn by older people, not the people that drive Apple’s market share. They’ve sold over a million I’ll bet - but in terms of Apple’s own sales forecasts that says something if you sell over a million-and it’s a fail - kind of like a Taylor Swift record not selling 5 million. Either way - it’s still a fugly large brick-ish thing that needs recharging twice a day unless you don’t use it. The next Apple watch should be half the thickness and have NO need to worry about charging (self winding watches were around in the 40’s - come on guys!). Meanwhile, I’ll keep my backwards running REAL Apple Watch (think different) in my bureau because unlike the new Watch, my real Apple Watch goes up in value every day - as does my Lorus Apple Watch with “gold” dial that envious Apple newbies look at.


@CudaBoy Your post is so full of “fail” that it is hard to even know where to begin…

“...Apple would be crowing like a Rooster…” - except that they stated from the very beginning that they would not break out the sales numbers for the watch. They did say that it has exceeded their internal sales projections. Again.

“ZERO street buzz…” - as opposed to what? The Moto360? I hear more people talking about the Apple Watch than any other smart watch out there.

“Most people don’t wear watches anymore…” - And your point? The measure of success of the Apple watch would be to compare its share of the subset of those people that do wear watches that wear smart watches. Nobody has ever claimed that the market is as large as the cellphone market (as an example), except those building straw man arguments.

“...worn by older people, not the people that drive Apple’s market share…” - Again, a meaningless argument. Apple’s market share? In what market? In watches, it appears (at least by your observation) that they are EXACTLY the people who are driving Apple’s market share…in smart watches. I’m pretty sure that Apple isn’t sitting around, wringing their hands, saying “Crap, only older people are buying millions of our watches!” First) it isn’t true, and B) money doesn’t become lower in value to Apple because it wasn’t given to them by a teenager or hipster. Older people tend to have the disposable income to be able to afford an Apple Watch.

“...but in terms of Apple’s own sales forecasts…” - And do you know Apple’s sales forecasts for the watch? If you do, you are ahead of literally everybody else outside of Apple, since they have NEVER RELEASED THOSE FORECASTS. It is only your opinion (or assumption) that it has failed compared to their internal forecasts… except that it exceeded them, according to Tim Cook (who should be well aware of what they are).

“’s still a fugly large brick-ish thing…” - completely your opinion. I have one and I do not hold your opinion. Also not relevant to whether it is a success or not (but have you seen the Moto360? That thing is HUGE!)

“...that needs recharging twice a day unless you don’t use it..” - Complete, unsubstantiated B.S. I use mine all the time (checking time, messages, email, etc..) and rarely get below 60% charge at the end of about 16 hours or so. Usually have 75% charge left. Certainly not charging twice a day.

“...The next Apple watch should be half the thickness…” - and probably will be when the technology of batteries and such catch up. Right now the thickness is governed by the 250ma battery. Then people will complain that they bent their watch…

“...and have NO need to worry about charging (self winding watches were around in the 40’s - come on guys!)...” - in the 40’s you weren’t running the equivalent of a small computer on your wrist. Please, show me ANY self-winding smart watch. Do you have any idea how self-winding watches even work?

“...I’ll keep my backwards running REAL Apple Watch (think different)...” - Sounds cool! Hang on to it. It will be a collector’s item someday.


You can put “quotes” around the term “fail”. I am poking fun at Apple’s games. Why do you suppose Apple chose (re watch) not to a.) forecast and b.) report actual sales? This is Apple after all, can you explain? Are they playing games with stockholders? Until then, I can only draw conclusions based on life here in the big media city. I have had insider knowledge of Apple since the late 80s, that’s how I got all the original watches, pins, neon signs, rainbow scratchpads etc. ; I “hear” stuff from my old pals hence why most of my predictions come true. My Dad was a watch designer for Elgin and others hence my first watch in the 50’s was a self winding (btw old self winding watches were mechanical in case you were wondering, today you can go solar or say 3 years on one Seiko battery in a non smart watch), I know about batteries and the argument about that being the reason the Apple Watch is a brick, but (some) other smart watches aren’t bricks and the proof that that is a weak argument is that most of my criticisms will be addressed in Watch V2- thickness AND battery life. It’s just not a HIP design, and that’s why it failed - a rare Ives miss. They’ll fix it.


Why did they choose to not forecast or report sales? Because they put the Apple Watch in their “other products” category, along with Apple TV, iPod, Beats and other non-core products (the core being computers, iPads and iPhones). Doesn’t mean that they don’t have faith in it and doesn’t mean that it is unsuccessful. It would be a fair bet, though, that it did outsell every other smartwatch in the market (maybe more than all the others combined).

I would be interested to know which other smartwatches aren’t “bricks” (without being excessively large in other dimensions) , that have the same capabilities and require charging less often. I’m not doubting you, I just haven’t seen them.

I am well aware of how self-winding watches work, as well as solar and battery non-smart watches (I have a Citizen EcoDrive that has been working perfectly for over 13 years and keeps excellent time). But comparing them all to current smartwatches is apples to oranges. Power requirements are drastically different.

Lee Dronick

I would like a slightly thinner  Watch, but the current one is not unwieldily. Future models, if not the next will be a little less thick.

Alfonso J Sintjago

Apart from my neighbor, I don’t know anyone who wants or owns one of these, and not because of its cost, but its utility. Most of these same people have iPhone 6s or Plus. Its not just the Apple Watch but the idea of the smart watch that is a problem. It will sell but it doesn’t seem to be a category that will change how we use technology as was the case with the smart phone. I bought the Pebble Time Steel and wore it twice. I wont be buying another smart watch any time soon. I buy a computer or a smart phone and I see its immediate use. I see an immediate use for the iPad Pro, but the smart watch is a device without a real need apart from fitness. That niche is doing well but it is also very competitive. I don’t think most people in general think smart watches are a good gadget category. Its tech for the sake of tech not utility.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account