Why time could be ripe for Apple's finest hour
Some claimed it would be a major flop, but the first figures suggest Apple Watch sales have been strong, if interpretations of the less-than-transparent data are to be believed. Katie Wright takes a look at the figures.
When CEO Tim Cook stepped on to the stage at the Flin Center in Cupertino, California, last September and announced the arrival of the long-rumoured Apple Watch, he got a standing ovation. But reception back in the real world was far frostier. Ever since, press and consumers alike have been questioning the appeal of the bulky gadget with the minuscule battery life and hefty price tag.
The most frequently asked question about the Apple Watch became: is it going to flop? Now that Cook and Co have released their Q3 earnings report, we have a definitive answer, right?
Well, sort of. Because they don't want to reveal the exact figures, the wi-fi-enabled watch is lumped in with iPods, Beats Electronics and Apple TV in the 'other products' category, which generated £1.7bn in the three months to the end of June.
Bearing in mind the watch only hit shops at the end of April, analysts estimate that equates to around three to four million units sold (prices start at £299 and range into the thousands for luxury editions).
So not a flop then?
"Obliterating the competition in an emerging category with one quite expensive product that's tied to one smartphone, is not what I would call a flop," says Wareable.com's Sophie Charara.
"The Apple Watch pretty much is the smartwatch market now, with a reported 75% market share, its only real competition in wearable tech comes from Fitbit and Xiaomi which both sell cheaper fitness bands."
Plus, Cook told investors that sales were higher towards the end of the quarter, which puts the new release on track to beat first-year sales for the iPhone and iPad.
But in order to keep up that momentum, what Apple calls its "most personal device yet" has still got some ways to go. "The Apple Watch hasn't yet solved the problem of what a smartwatch should do," Charara cautions, "but it has got people talking about wearables.
"Apple's products tend to really break through after a year or two and the Watch needs some more real-world apps to make it more useful."
Right now, three million-ish people are still getting to grips with their tech timepieces - if app developers can do enough to keep those early adopters on board and attract the next wave of purchasers, then the Apple Watch - like the iPhone before it - is heading for can't-live-without-it status.
Maybe, then, Tim Cook will get the applause he deserves.