Investing in the Digital Transformation › Forums › Research › Lonely with the Apple Watch
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July 17, 2015 at 3:53 pm #1033pc_adminKeymaster
I’ve begun to notice something odd about the Apple Watch: I don’t see many early adopters wearing it.
Now, before you Apple fanboys and girls accuse me of being a hater, consider this. I own and am a fan of the Watch. (I like the notifications.) But unlike other Apple products, which spread through Silicon Valley circles as fast as assistants can buy them, I don’t see many tech influencers wearing them; that includes those who could get them from Apple for nothing.
I spotted four Apple Watches at Sun Valley beside my own. (Tim Cook’s was one of them.) I saw many more than four brand new MacBook computers—a point I paid particular attention to because I had to borrow a charger and asked everyone I saw if they had a compatible one.
I wouldn’t expect to see the Apple Watch everywhere. It’s a new category and early days. I do see a few out and about in San Francisco, sometimes on engineers or designers thinking about building for it. But the fact that people who generally love to show off their early access to Apple products are opting out has me convinced that the Watch really isn’t a mainstream product.
Of course, that’s what some analysts have been saying all along. And every week a new report extrapolates from some new data to grab a headline about disappointing sales. I’m skeptical of reading too much into them—or into comments from Cook who says orders are “Great.” We have no idea what Apple’s true expectations are for the product. I was reporting about Research in Motion when the iPhone came out, so I very much remember how people underestimated the iPhone. In its last fiscal year, Apple sold 169 million.
But from the start, the iPhone was coveted by early adopters. Executives and celebrities—still addicted to their BlackBerries—carried both. So, regardless of whether I believe Apple will sell 10 million or 60 million Apple Watches next year, I can’t shake the feeling that this time is different.
The behavior of early adopters is too important a leading indicator to ignore. It took me a few months to upgrade my iPhone and until I did, among my circle of friends and business contacts I felt like an odd woman out with the 5S. Now, I’m feeling almost self-conscious about wearing the watch, which is unusual for an Apple product.
I think investors by and large understand this. Even at a $742 billion market cap, the stock trades pretty cheaply relative to earnings. In my mind, the question of whether Apple can become the first trillion dollar company is all about the car, which the company is working on quite actively.
If the technorati’s hubhub over Tesla is any indicator, an Apple car is one product that I suspect the Who’s Who of the business world would want parked in their garage more than they crave an Apple Watch strapped to their wrist.
Jessica E. Lessin, The Information, 7/17/2015
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