Two surveys published yesterday confirm red-hot demand for Apple’s new Apple Watch, but this is a platform, not a trinket.
- A Reuters/Ipsos poll reveals 6 percent of U.S. adults plan to buy the Apple Watch, with men twice as likely as women to purchase one.
- A Bloomberg poll anticipates around 11 percent of iPhone users will purchase one.
To put the Reuters number in perspective, the 2014 census claims about 319 million U.S. adults, which suggests Apple will sell between 15 million and 18 million units of its new smartwatch in the U.S. alone.
Also read: 14 Apple watch apps you’ll want to use
This is in line with the 10 million to 32 million Watch sales analysts have predicted. Apple has already eclipsed earlier attempts to define the category from Samsung et al.
Reuter’s figures also claimed 8 percent of the people who said they wanted to buy an Apple Watch are prepared to switch to iPhone to use one. What’s really interesting is that just under a third of those spoken with for the poll already own an iPhone.
This means Apple can expect a healthy uptick in iPhone sales across the next couple of quarters as Apple Watch purchasers realize they need the smartphone, too. This suggests it may also be a good time to introduce a successor to the “unashamedly plastic” iPhone 5C, of course.
Goldman Sachs sees a big future, according to Bloomberg:
- +11% of iPhone users "very likely" to purchase an Apple Watch this year
- Bad news for traditional watch makers as regular watch wearers are among the most likely to order an Apple Watch
- Those likely to buy a smartwatch are the high end consumers Apple’s aiming at with its Edition range. These people use Fossil, Seiko, Casio, Rolex, Timex, and TAG Heuer watches today; tomorrow, they use Apple.
While things look good, Apple won’t be complacent – it knows demand may decline once the first sales are done."We may see a high level of interest. Apple will sell a few million fairly quickly, but then things might flatten out a little," Gartner’s Van Baker warns..
To nurture future sales, I anticipate future models will deliver better battery life, a 4G connection, independent processors and the capacity to work independently of an iPhone. That’s even before the nuclear option of adding Android compatibility.
Some see the challenge as being how well used the Apple Watch will be once it reaches consumers. That’s where Apple’s vibrant developer community plays its part – those apps will make the Watch “sticky."
Apple is also doing a good job making its product appropriate for specific industries, particularly health and the enterprise.
At the end of the day, it is important to understand that the success of this product is not based on its place as a consumer trinket. This is a connected device with implications across the connected technology value chain.
Romasha Roy Choudhury, vice president of product design at Cynapse, developers of Numerics, a powerful new business intelligence app for iOS (and Apple Watch) puts it like this:
“We believe software is going to be more about intelligence than interfaces. From being the tools that we use to do things, software is moving towards doing things for us. Connected devices or things talking to each other is a key facilitator of this progress.”
When you purchase an Apple Watch, you aren’t just purchasing a must-have consumer accessory, you are also acquiring the keys to Apple’s powerfully connected platform, one it has been quietly developing for a decade -- even while being accused of being little more than a “toymaker." Cloud, M2M, digital processes, big data – all the elements Apple is calling into play now come directly out of the Garnter “hype cycle."
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