Despite going on sale in April, we still don’t know how many Apple Watches have sold – and one analyst has said the silence is a sign of weakness.
Apple yesterday reported nearly $11bn in profit for the quarter ending June but didn’t reveal any unit sales for the new device, simply saying that the numbers were higher than the comparable launch periods for the first iPhone or iPad.
CEO Tim Cook said of the omission that it was not a matter of not being transparent, it was a matter of not giving our competition insight that’s a product that we’ve worked really hard on”. But analyst Leonid Bershidsky isn’t having any of it.
No matter what analysts and the market think of the company’s latest quarterly report, the company is still a juggernaut that can absorb any imaginable shock. At the same time, it’s also weak in a way it wasn’t under Steve Jobs. Apple has grown afraid of its own long shadow,” he told NZHerald.
Jobs’s Apple reported the sales of the first iPhone – 270,000 units – in its filing for the quarter ending on June 30th, 2007, even though the revolutionary phone went on sale on June 29th. Jobs’s Apple likewise reported unit sales for the iPad in its first quarter on the market: 3.27m. That device created a new category, and there were strong reasons to keep competitors in the dark, but the company chose not to.”
So why did Cook stay quiet? Because, Bershidsky argued, it is scared of releasing numbers that fall short of the market’s expectations.
The problem with releasing [the Apple Watch] numbers is not that it would help the competition. All competitors combined sold just 6.8m smartwatches in 2014. Apple has undoubtedly conquered the product category. But has it met the market’s expectations? Not by a wide margin,” he added.
Apple won’t release its unit sales number because it’s afraid of falling short. In Jobs’s day, the company only needed to beat the competition and satisfy customers. Today, given the expectations, Cook knows he can never do enough.
Since Jobs died, Apple has yet to come out with a life-changing new product. The company has been remarkably well-managed, successful and able to win over entire new swathes of the tech market. But its growth is still based on the Jobs legacy. And that’s uncomfortable, like wearing shoes that are a size too big.”