TheStreet’s Rocco Pendola: Apple’s iWatch will fail

“It’s a good thing it really doesn’t matter because I can’t help but worry that Apple’s forthcoming iWatch smartwatch will fail,” Rocco Pendola writes for TheStreet. “This, of course, assumes the rumors are true and Apple plans to introduce some sort of (most likely health-focused) wearable device.”

“Apple effectively turned your garden variety MP3 player into an iPod. It morphed iPod into iPhone. And it found a sweet spot with iPad. Ever since, it has become increasingly difficult to identify and develop similar sweet spots,” Pendola writes. “Now, tech companies strive to change behavior with so-called “all-in-one” mobile devices and highly interactive subscription music services focused on curation.”

“‘We got nothing’ so we’ll tell you you want wearables even if there’s no evidence to support such a notion,” Pendola writes. “No matter how many times somebody tells me it’s so, I won’t believe Apple has a smartwatch or other type of wearable device set for release later this year. It’s an accessory item most people do not need and probably do not want.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iCal’ed.

Rocco’s obviously angling to get on a list like this:

• “Apple is slated to come out with a new phone… And it will largely fail…. Sales for the phone will skyrocket initially. However, things will calm down, and the Apple phone will take its place on the shelves with the random video cameras, cell phones, wireless routers and other would-be hits… When the iPod emerged in late 2001, it solved some major problems with MP3 players. Unfortunately for Apple, problems like that don’t exist in the handset business. Cell phones aren’t clunky, inadequate devices. Instead, they are pretty good. Really good.” – Michael Kanellos, CNET, December 07, 2006

• “The economics of something like [an Apple iPhone] aren’t that compelling.” – Rod Bare, Morningstar analyst, December 08, 2006

• “Apple will launch a mobile phone in January, and it will become available during 2007. It will be a lovely bit of kit, a pleasure to behold, and its limited functionality will be easy to access and use. The Apple phone will be exclusive to one of the major networks in each territory and some customers will switch networks just to get it, but not as many as had been hoped. As customers start to realise that the competition offers better functionality at a lower price, by negotiating a better subsidy, sales will stagnate. After a year a new version will be launched, but it will lack the innovation of the first and quickly vanish. The only question remaining is if, when the iPod phone fails, it will take the iPod with it.” – Bill Ray, The Register, December 26, 2006

• “I am pretty skeptical. I don’t think [iPhone] will meet the fantastic predictions I have been reading. For starters, while Apple basically established the market for portable music players, the phone market is already established, with a number of major brands. Can Apple remake the phone market in its image? Success is far from guaranteed.” – Jack Gold, founder and principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, January 11, 2007

• “iPhone which doesn’t look, I mean to me, I’m looking at this thing and I think it’s kind of trending against, you know, what’s really going, what people are really liking on, in these phones nowadays, which are those little keypads. I mean, the Blackjack from Samsung, the Blackberry, obviously, you know kind of pushes this thing, the Palm, all these… And I guess some of these stocks went down on the Apple announcement, thinking that Apple could do no wrong, but I think Apple can do wrong and I think this is it.” – John C. Dvorak, Bloated Gas Bag, January 13, 2007

• “The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant… Apple is unlikely to make much of an impact on this market… Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won’t make a long-term mark on the industry.” – Matthew Lynn, Bloomberg, January 15, 2007

• “[Apple’s iPhone] is the most expensive phone in the world and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard which makes it not a very good email machine… So, I, I kinda look at that and I say, well, I like our strategy. I like it a lot.” – Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, January 17, 2007

• “The iPhone’s willful disregard of the global handset market will come back to haunt Apple.” – Tero Kuittinen,, January 18, 2007

• “I can’t believe the hype being given to iPhone… I just have to wonder who will want one of these things (other than the religious faithful)… So please mark this post and come back in two years to see the results of my prediction: I predict they will not sell anywhere near the 10M Jobs predicts for 2008.” – Richard Sprague, Microsoft Senior Marketing Director, January 18, 2007

• “Consumers are not used to paying another couple hundred bucks more just because Apple makes a cool product. Some fans will buy [iPhone], but for the rest of us it’s a hard pill to swallow just to have the coolest thing.” – Neil Strother, NPD Group analyst, January 22, 2007

• “There’s an old saying — stick to your knitting — and Apple is not a mobile phone manufacturer, that’s not their knitting… I think people overreacted to it — there was not a lot of tremendously new stuff if you think about it.” – Greg Winn, Telstra’s operations chief, February 15, 2007

• “I’m more convinced than ever that, after an initial frenzy of publicity and sales to early adopters, iPhone sales will be unspectacular… iPhone may well become Apple’s next Newton.” – David Haskin, Computerworld, February 26, 2007

• “Even if [the iPhone] is opened up to third parties, it is difficult to see how the installed base of iPhones can reach the level where it becomes a truly attractive service platform for operator and developer investment.” – Tony Cripps, Ovum Service Manager for Mobile User Experience, March 14, 2007

• “Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone… What Apple risks here is its reputation as a hot company that can do no wrong. If it’s smart it will call the iPhone a ‘reference design’ and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else’s marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures… Otherwise I’d advise people to cover their eyes. You are not going to like what you’ll see.” – John C. Dvorak, Bloated Gas Bag, March 28, 2007

• “The iPhone is going to be nothing more than a temporary novelty that will eventually wear off.” – Gundeep Hora, CoolTechZone Editor-in-Chief, April 02, 2007

• Motorola’s then-Chairman and then-CEO Ed Zander said his company was ready for competition from Apple’s iPhone, due out the following month. “How do you deal with that?” Zander was asked at the Software 2007 conference. Zander quickly retorted, “How do they deal with us?” – Ed Zander, May 10, 2007

• “What does the iPhone offer that other cell phones do not already offer, or will offer soon? The answer is not very much… Apple’s stated goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008 seems ambitious.” – Laura Goldman, LSG Capital, May 21, 2007

• “[Apple should sell 7.9 million iPhones in 2008]… Apple’s goal of selling 10 million iPhones this year is optimistic.” – Toni Sacconaghi, Bernstein Research analyst, February 22, 2008

• “Microsoft, with Windows Mobile/ActiveSync, Nokia with Intellisync, and Motorola with Good Technology have all fared poorly in the enterprise. We have no reason to expect otherwise from Apple.” – Peter Misek, Canaccord Adams analyst, March 07, 2008

• “We are not at all worried. We think we’ve got the one mobile platform you’ll use for the rest of your life. [Apple] are not going to catch up.” – Scott Rockfeld, Microsoft Mobile Communications Group Product Manager, April 01, 2008

• “[iPhone] just doesn’t matter anymore. There are now alternatives to the iPhone, which has been introduced everywhere else in the world. It’s no longer a novelty.” – Eamon Hoey, Hoey and Associates, April 30, 2008


    1. It humors me to browse through the history of abject failures by would-be Apple analysts and pundits. Someone has to hold them accountable, and MDN does an admirable job by occasionally posting and expanding upon the list of shame.

      Never forget! Never falter!

    2. And you’re a hit whore just like Rocco. You just like to see your name in writing. Fascinates you to read something that you have typed. Get a life. Go do something constructive. Take a walk. Take a nap. But go away. You’re here way too often. Your opinion doesn’t matter. Just like Rocco’s.

  1. A device that Apple hasn’t even officially announced yet will fail? Lol. These journalists/analysts just become more amusing by the day. Was he around saying this regarding samsungs crap of a watch which is actually failing. Didn’t mention android wear either. Nope only Apple will fail with a device they haven’t even announced or shown. I swear

  2. In my experience there’s one thing people cannot get enough of: themselves. If iWatch gives people fascinating information and insight into themselves it cannot fail. Plain and simple.

  3. “Where did this market come from? Who created it?”

    Apple did, or at least rumours of Apple entering the market prompted a lot of “me first!” devices by companies sick of being “me too!” wannabes. Sadly for them their devices have been labelled poor before there’s even a leader to be compared with

  4. Thank goodness. With so many analysts praising iWatch, I was beginning to fear for its prospects. But this guy’s bellyaching helps one keep the faith that the wearable revolution is upon us.

  5. Rocco, I agree with you. In fact, I’ll go further. Stay in the safe zone. Don’t take risks. Don’t explore. Don’t waste time and resources trying to creative what you think may be a better product. I’ll go even further. Don’t do anything. The thought of failing just means you’ll have to pull yourself up and try again and again and again. Don’t do that. Don’t do anything. The thought of not having a successful product is just too awfully painful. Why squander any of life’s energy doing anything that may be worthwhile. In fact, why even dream. It’s just too risky.

  6. So what Pendola is saying is that he thinks Apple had a bit of luck with the iPod, a lucky stroke in developing it into the iPhone and somehow fluked a bit of success with iPad. His assumption is that Apple won’t strike lucky again.

    There are three important questions. Why was it that only Apple managed to make a success of MP3 players ? Many others tried, some of them spending a huge amount of money, but most failed and only a few made any worthwhile profit. Why was it only Apple that developed a touch interface for smartphones ? Everybody else was obsessed with keyboards and they abruptly changed course when Apple showed them how a touch interface should work. Why was it Apple that was able to make a successful tablet, when companies like Microsoft had been trying to do that for the previous ten years and still can’t make a profit from making them ?

    Every time that Apple launched one of those iconic products, the overwhelming reaction at the time was that it was nothing special, or that it would never appeal to anything other than a niche market. I have no reason to believe that the reaction to future Apple product launches will be any different to previous ones. People will rush all over each other to tell us why they think it’s a bad idea, even though when they previously did that, they were proved to be wrong and still haven’t learned from that experience.

    Pendola’s assumption that Apple has been lucky so far leads him to deduce that Apple’s luck must inevitably run out. It’s not much different from all those people who assured us that OS X’s security was because it wasn’t a big enough platform, but once the hackers turned their attention to it, it would be an easy target, just like Windows. We’ve been assured for the last 15 years that it’s only a matter of time before an OS X virus comes along and wrecks all those unprotected Macs, but we’re still waiting.

    The reality is that Apple doesn’t rely on luck. They work very hard behind the scenes to create great products and then when they’re finally launched, everything looks so right and obvious that those who know nothing will attribute it to luck. If you make it look effortless, it must be luck that made it happen.

    “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it” ….. Thomas Jefferson

  7. Rocco is bashing something that only exists in the press. Apple hasn’t mentioned anything about any wearable products to date. How can something that does not exist, fail?
    Explain this to everyone Rocco please.
    Stupidity at its finest folks!
    Move along, nothing to see here.

  8. That’s an excellent round-up of botched predictions.
    Did Dvorak ever predict anything correctly?
    I remember him telling us to dump cable modems because they were going nowhere and ISDN was taking over.

    1. Yup, there were a couple of articles that were very insightful but that was a long way back. Seems most jouranalists get wrapped by the wind around a flag pole. Pendola, he’s just another hit whore.

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