Apple may sell 6 million Apple Watch 2 units in weeks

It looks like watchOS 3 may help existing customers use their Apple Watch all over again.

Apple may sell as many as 6 million new model Apple Watch 2 unit’s within the first few weeks of release, if new NextWorth survey data turns out to have gotten the public pulse right.

[Also read: 8 ‘killer apps’ Apple Watch users need]

That’s a lot

“The Apple Watch 2 is predicted to sell more devices in the first 6 months than the original device has sold since it's launch,” a company representative observed.

The findings are based on a NextWorth survey across 540 current smartwatch or fitness tracker owners. I’ll dig a little deeper into the findings later in this report, but two key metrics Apple watchers will want to file are:

  • ½ (50%) of current Apple Watch owners say they will upgrade
  • 22 percent of non-smartwatch owners plan to buy one this year.

They also follow a recent Wristly survey which found an astonishing 94 percent of existing Apple Watch customers are still satisfied with their devices

Recent Strategy Analytics figures pegged Apple Watch sales at around 13.6 million – way more than the number of iPhones v.1’s the company sold, and none too shabby given the device is only available to people who also use an iPhone.

The NextWorth data suggests Apple will see 6.8 million Apple Watch 2 sales to existing customers alone. (With most customers also purchasing 2 or 3 additional watch straps, that’s a tidy additional income for the firm).

That’s great news for the company asApple will ship the next generation Apple Watch 2 this fall, claims Digitimes: ”Although the second-generation Apple Watch is estimated to be unveiled in September or October,” it said.

Turn ons and turn offs

The survey has some interesting insights into how we use Apple Watch. Principally it notes that within three months of owning one, consistent wearing of the device drops by 10 percent and continues to fall. All the same, one in three people who’ve owned Apple Watch for longer than nine months say they wear it daily.

It is interesting to note that the health features inside the devices do have an impact:

“While consistently wearing smartwatches, owners report healthier lifestyles, including more frequent exercise, healthier eating, and healthier daily habits such as walking more or taking the stairs.”

When asked: "What would make them use their devices more", respondents made the following requests:

  • 57% Longer battery life
  • 37% Easier/faster to charge
  • 36% More stylish design
  • 31% Wi-fi enabled
  • 30% Useful fitness apps
  • 26% Better integration with health apps I use
  • 24% Faster switching between apps
  • 20% Simpler user interface
  • 19% More personalized design such as custom watch face choices
  • 18% Replaces credit card by making watch a payment method for online and/or offline shopping
  • 17% More accurate tracking of heart rate
  • 14% Emergency alert and calling
  • 12% Voice activation such as SIRI

It is clear from the answers that these requests reflect the general desires of a combined pool of both smartwatch and fitness tracker wearers, rather than those of Apple Watch users in isolation.

What’s next?

Apple listens, and is responding to nearly all of these requests in Apple Watch 2 and watchOS 3.

Software improvements within watchOS 3 are likely to stimulate reengagement with existing devices.

Not only does the OS provide a range of useful fitness apps (such as Breathe); it also offers faster app switching, an improved user interface, offers more custom watch face design and continued Apple Pay support (which fitness bands generally don’t provide).

When it comes to hardware, Apple Watch 2 is expected to be thinner, may be Wi-Fi enabled, will have faster native apps, improved battery life and (I think) may be available in more models and (potentially not until 2017) may boast its own cellular connection.

Listen and act

With IDC reporting a 55 percent decline in smartwatch sales as customers defer purchase pending introduction of Apple Watch 2 and watchOS 3 this fall, it’s clear Apple is hoping that by refining its wearable in response to consumer need it will consolidate and build upon its existing wearables market leadership.

The strategy is simple: listen to customers and make sure they are satisfied. The Wristly and NextWorth surveys suggest Apple's doing a good job of both.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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