Is the Apple Watch a flop?

January 4th, 2016

Fred Wilson going over his predictions from last year:

The Apple Watch was a flop. This is the one I took the most heat on. So I feel a bit vindicated on this point.

No sources cited here. I have read many “the Apple Watch is a flop” pieces but none of them have convinced me of that using any data. Anecdotally, I suppose, you could look around you and count how many people you know with an Apple Watch and determine that it isn’t an overwhelming runaway hit. However, based on the shipping expectations for the Watch early on I would say it met or exceeded Apple’s own expectations for the launch. I’m also willing to bet there were a lot of Watches as presents this season.

The Apple Watch could be called a flop if it sold so poorly and customer demand or interest was so low that Apple totally shelved the project. But they haven’t. I’m willing to bet they made a lot of money on the Watch so far (far more than any of their competitors in the same space). And I’m willing to bet that in 2016-2017 Apple will double down on the Watch and make some incredible improvements to every piece of it.

My take; again, comparing it to the original iPhone. When I paid $1,200 in cash for Eliza and I to get an original iPhone many people thought I was crazy. For many months I only knew a handful of people with an iPhone. Everyone saw the iPhone and immediately wanted one but none of them wanted the first version or to pay a premium for that first version. However, here we are 8 years later and the iPhone business itself is still larger than all of Microsoft. So my take is that the launch of the Apple Watch may have only just met the expectations of Apple but didn’t meet the expectations of the press (not surprisingly).

Someone like Fred Wilson, who invests in both short term and longterm businesses and obviously does very well at doing that, should know better than to call a product a flop before having any official data.