Apple continues to eat the watch industry’s lunch.

Apple sold more watches than Rolex, Swatch, and the rest of the Swiss watch industry combined:

Apple is one of the biggest watchmakers in the world.

How big? Based on newly available statistics, it now seems certain that Apple outsold the entire Swiss watch industry combined last quarter.

Yep. The company best known for making iPhones outsold Rolex, Omega, and even Swatch last quarter — combined.

That’s according to Apple Watch sales estimates from industry researcher Canalys and IDC, and publicly released shipment statistics from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Canalys estimates that Apple sold 8 million Apple Watches in the last quarter of 2017.

Another industry who’s lunch Apple is eating.

Keep the success of Apple Watch in mind when you read stories about apps ditching it.

Apple Watch doesn’t need more apps.

Slack is the latest app to ditch the Apple Watch:

Like Twitter, Amazon, and Google Maps before it, Slack is ditching its Apple Watch app. The team chat and collaboration platform for businesses quietly announced the news via an update to its iOS app. But, that doesn’t mean Slack will disappear entirely from your wrist.

You’ll still be able to respond to incoming messages on your Apple Watch courtesy of rich notifications — all that’s absent is the ability to view unread mentions. So, you may not be missing much after all, which sums up the essential problem with dedicated Apple Watch apps.

This move makes sense. The Apple Watch isn’t the iPhone.

For me Apple Watch is a glanceable, health-tracking, message notifier that unlocks my MacBook when I wake it up (my favorite feature).

I have no need for the apps on my Apple Watch to mirror the ones on my iPhone.

“When you realize you just don’t need something anymore, there is little desire to buy another.”

Hodinkee’s Ben Clymer reviewed the Apple Watch Series 3 (via Daring Fireball):

Will anyone be trading in their Lange Double-Split for an Apple Watch? Certainly not. But, will the average Lange owner buy an Apple Watch, wear it on the weekends, and then, after a great workout with it, decide to leave it on next for a vacation to the beach, and then maybe on casual Friday to the office? It’s possible. Apple products have a way of making someone not want to live without them…So while certainly not direct competition for haute horology watchmaking right now, the Apple Watch is absolutely competition for the real estate of the wrist, and years down the road, it could spell trouble for traditional watches even at a high level. When you realize you just don’t need something anymore, there is little desire to buy another. At the lower end, I believe the Apple Watch is a serious threat to those less faithful wearers of analog watches.

He’s right. Apple Watch will not replace high-end, analog watches, but it is a threat to a portion of the analog watch market.

Just the fact that Apple Watch is being seriously reviewed on watch enthusiast sites like Hodinkee is confirmation of Apple having encroached on the territory of old school watch makers.

Trivially Easy

Android Wear has made it trivially easy for fashion companies to ‘make’ tech products:

March has been a particularly fecund time for new Android Wear watch announcements, though unlike previous years, the brands behind these devices are almost all from the fashion and luxury spheres of business. Tag Heuer, Montblanc, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Diesel, Emporio Armani, Michael Kors, and Movado are just some of the well known names announcing Wear 2.0 smartwatches. This wave of new products is symptomatic of a broader trend in the tech industry: one where a high degree of component and software integration has made it almost trivial to launch a new tech product, whether or not you’re actually a tech company.

I wonder if this ‘trivial’ aspect of wearable tech is going to help move the needle for Android Wear sales. At the end of last year Apple was still leading in the contracting smartwatch market.

The crux of the problem with these internally identical Android Wear watches is that tech consumers demand substantive differences between cheap and expensive gadgets. How does Montblanc justify charging three times as much as LG for a watch that is functionally the same as LG’s? When Tag Heuer or any other famed watchmaker puts four-figure prices on its mechanical watches, there’s an implied promise that they’ll have an unmatched quality of workmanship and precision. But when those same companies outsource the brains to Google and the brawn to Qualcomm, what’s left for them to differentiate themselves with?

This doesn’t make any sense. The Apple Watch Series 2 is functionally identical across all price points (the Series 1 isn’t water resistance and doesn’t have GPS).

The real question is: can Google make a smartwatch interface that feels just as premium as the shell and straps around it?

It took years for Android for phones/tablets to be in the same league as iOS in terms of a seamless software experience that didn’t jitter and adhered to a set interface guidelines. I wonder if it will be the same for Android Wear.

Apple Watch, Slow and Steady?

Apple Watch sales to consumers set record in holiday week, says Apple’s Cook:

Sales of the Apple Watch to consumers set a record during the first week of holiday shopping, and the current quarter is on track to be the best ever for the product, Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook told Reuters.

Responding to an email from Reuters, Cook said the gadget’s sell-through – a measure of how many units are sold to consumers, rather than simply stocked on retailers’ shelves – reached a new high.

Cook’s comments followed a report on Monday from technology research firm IDC estimating that the tech giant sold 1.1 million units of the Apple Watch during the third quarter of 2016, down 71 percent from the year-ago quarter. The comments offer a glimpse of the gadget’s performance during the holiday quarter, which is typically Apple’s strongest.

Cook is doing that shady thing Amazon does when it reports the number of Kindles it has sold: it doesn’t give numbers (go ahead and try to find anywhere on the Internet where Amazon mentions how many devices they’ve sold).

The Apple Watch is probably selling well, considering what’s happening with their compeition: Moto is taking a break from making new watches, the Microsoft Band is dead, and who knows whats going on with Samsung. Then again, maybe they’re not selling well.

One problem may be that the growth of the Apple Watch is slow and steady, and not at the enormous the iPhone is at, and thus looks shitty by comparison.

I like my Apple Watch and I think it’s a good device, but you can’t expect everyone to drop over $350 on an Apple Watch right after they dropped $800 on an iPhone.

The Apple Watch is a parasitic device, meaning it needs an iPhone to function. The iPhone used to be the same, where you couldn’t use it unless you had a Mac or PC to sync it with. Now, of course, you can buy an iPhone, back it up to iCloud, and never sync it with another computer. I bet the Apple Watch will eventually get to that point too.

Back to my main point: MONEY. These devices: iPads, iPhones, MacBooks, Watches, they all cost money and unless the price point comes way down on these things (which I don’t see happening), people aren’t going to be rushing out to get new ones every year.

Apple Watch Activity Tracking

I got an Apple Watch Series 2 on October 1st and have been wearing it every day since then. It’s been interesting to see how it folds into my everyday routines and workflows. This is also the first time I’ve regularly worn a watch in over 10 years.

It’s not integral to my life like my iPhone is. It’s a nice-to-have device and I see it staying that way for the foreseeable future.

The biggest benefits to wearing an Apple Watch are ones Apple put in by design: glancing at notifications and activity tracking. I no longer have to pull out my iPhone to read texts and emails. This is great.

Regarding the activity tracking, I’ve been curious exactly how it works.

iMore has a good breakdown on how it works:

Instead of counting steps or calories, the Apple Watch focuses more on your overall health and well-being. This difference has left some Apple Watch owners baffled at their standing desks when a notification comes through that it’s time to stand; others aren’t sure why workouts they log in other App Store apps don’t show up as a workout in the Activity app. And these are all logical questions.

And on what Apple records as “exercise”:

Apple defines exercise as any activity you perform that is the equivalent of a brisk walk or more. To determine exercise, your Apple Watch looks at your heart rate and movement data. That means that things you do on a regular basis like getting up and walking around your office or taking your dog for a walk probably won’t raise your heart rate enough for the Apple Watch to deem it as exercise.

I’ve absolutely become more cognizant of my movement and exercise since wearing my Apple Watch. There was a lot of bitching when it first came out over the fact that you have to recharge it every day, unlike wearables like the Fitbit which last much longer.

I don’t see the problem. Before I go to bed I take off my watch and let it charge. Then I get up the next morning and I put it back on my wrist. Repeat.

I should also note I usually end the day (9-10pm) with 25-45% battery left, and this including regularly glancing at texts, emails, and activity.

Smartwatch Shipments Fall

IDC: Smartwatch shipments fall for the first time; Apple only company in top 5 to decline:

The smartwatch market has hit its first bump, and it’s all Apple’s fault. Vendors shipped a total of 3.5 million smartphones worldwide last quarter. This Q2 2016 figure is down 32 percent from the 5.1 million units shipped in Q2 2016, marking the first decline on record.

It should be noted Apple has 47 percent of the smartwatch market, with Samsung a distant second with 16 percent. Also note Microsoft’s marketshare is so small it isn’t even on the list yet.

I’ve got my eyes on an the next Watch I expect Apple to announce this September/October. The original Watch was released April 2015.

It’s time for an update.

Apple Can Do No Right

Over at The Wall Street Journal Daisuke Wakabayashi on Apple Watch first-year sales:

Apple Inc. sold twice as many Watches as iPhones in each device’s debut year. Yet the smartwatch is dogged by a perception that seems premature given the history of Apple’s most popular devices: disappointment.

As the Watch marks its first anniversary on Sunday—two days before Apple’s quarterly earnings announcement—the product’s fate is critical to the company. It is Apple’s first all-new product since the iPad and a test of its ability to innovate under Chief Executive Tim Cook, when sales of iPhones are slowing.

Right on cue, the tech press continues it’s modern tradition of showing us how Apple can do no right, ever.

Swiss Watch Makers Won’t Be Worried Until They’re Worried

Apple Watch Sales Estimated at 5.1 Million in Holiday Quarter, Swiss Watch Sales in Trouble:

The latest data from Strategy Analytics reveals that the Apple Watch remained the most popular smartwatch through the fourth quarter of 2015, capturing 63 percent global market share based on an estimated 5.1 million sales in the three-month period.

Samsung trailed in second place with 16 percent market share and an estimated 1.3 million sales. Apple and Samsung together accounted for 8 in 10 of all smartwatches shipped worldwide during last year’s holiday shopping season, based on the data.

Hey Swiss watch maker guys, keep not being worried about the Apple Watch.

Maybe just cover your eyes and plug your ears. Pretend it’s all a bad dream.

Embracing Apple Watch Limitations

Bobby Emamian with good advice when designing for Apple Watch:

For all of its sleek design and media hype, the first incarnation of the Apple Watch is simply less impressive than many of us might have hoped. Although watchOS 2 shows promise for the future by offering increased power, functionality, and options, the current version on the market imposes many constraints. In our time exploring the watch, we uncovered four limitations every app designer and developer should know about. Being aware of these limitations — and how to work around them — is critical when beginning a foray into designing the next great watch app.

As designers we should already know how important it is to embrace limitations, but it’s always good to be reminded. 

“Three of Apple’s four top products being sold today took roughly 3 years before people were willing to consider it worth buying.”

Abdel Ibrahim on the Apple Watch:

The Apple Watch is experiencing its early days, but I think it’s going to go through a timeline similar to the iPod, the iPhone, and the MacBook Air. This is a whole new frontier for both Apple and the consumer. This is not just technology. This is technology you wear. And because this is all so new to us, it’s simply going to take time for us to fully grasp and accept it.

But that’s not the only reason why. Another reason, and I think the bigger reason, will be because in the years to come innovations will happen that will make the Watch far more compelling. The screen, the battery, the speed, the applications, and the sensors will all become noticeably better. Not only that, but the Watch will likely do things we haven’t thought of yet. It’s hard to say what that is today, but it’s bound to happen.

Like I said, you gotta give it some time.

Apple Watch 1.0

Ever since Slice Intelligence posted their report claiming Apple Watch sales plunged 90% since launch week, doubters in the tech news have been on a feeding frenzy. They’re giddy over the possibility of the Apple Watch being a flop.

Apple isn’t immune to having products that flop, but it’s important to look at the Apple Watch launch in the context of the iPod and iPhone launches. Even conservative estimates put Apple Watch sales at around 2 million units. The original iPhone’s sold 1 million units opening weekend.

One of my favorite blog posts on the topic of Apple products is from Matt Mullenweg (creator of WordPress).

It’s titled, 1.0 is the Loneliest Number:

Many entrepreneurs idolize Steve Jobs. He’s such a perfectionist, they say. Nothing leaves the doors of 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino without a polish and finish that makes geeks everywhere drool. No compromise!

I like Apple for the opposite reason: they’re not afraid of getting a rudimentary 1.0 out into the world.

I remember my first 1G iPhone. Like a meal you have to wait for, or a line outside a club, the fact that I stood in line for hours made the first time I swiped to unlock the phone that much sweeter. It felt like I was on Star Trek and this was my magical tricorder… a tricorder that constantly dropped calls on AT&T’s network, had a headphone adapter that didn’t fit any of the hundreds of dollars of headphones I owned, ran no applications, had no copy and paste, and was as slow as molasses.

This is where we’re at with Apple Watch. It has a long way to go before it matures into a strong product, but as John Gruber pointed our back in 2010, this is how Apple rolls:

This is how the designers and engineers at Apple roll: They roll. They take something small, simple, and painstakingly well considered. They ruthlessly cut features to derive the absolute minimum core product they can start with. They polish those features to a shiny intensity. At an anticipated media event, Apple reveals this core product as its Next Big Thing, and explains—no, wait, it simply shows—how painstakingly thoughtful and well designed this core product is. The company releases the product for sale.

Then everyone goes back to Cupertino and rolls. As in, they start with a few tightly packed snowballs and then roll them in more snow to pick up mass until they’ve got a snowman. That’s how Apple builds its platforms. It’s a slow and steady process of continuous iterative improvement—so slow, in fact, that the process is easy to overlook if you’re observing it in real time. Only in hindsight is it obvious just how remarkable Apple’s platform development process is.

It the Apple Watch cool? Hell yeah. Does it feel underpowered? Hell yeah. Does it have a lot of potential? Hell yeah.

Think before you speak. Don’t be short-sighted and reactionary.

Give the Apple Watch some time and let’s see where it goes.

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