“The key question here really is what the trajectory of the Apple Watch will look like going forward,” Jan Dawson writes for Tech.pinions. “We’ve seen three very different trajectories with Apple’s last three major new product launches, varying by size, speed, and duration of their ramp from zero to their peaks. The iPhone is by far the largest, but the iPad was by far the quickest out of the gate, but the iPad has gone into a phase of decline far more quickly than the iPod did, and the iPhone is still going from strength to strength.”
“We’re told that the Watch is running hotter than all three over the first nine weeks, but will it accelerate or slow down after this first quarter?” Dawson writes. “One of the things I’ve been most insistent about from the day the Watch was announced is that third party apps will be critical to its success. However, the initial batch of third party apps has been smallish (8,500), and largely sub-par. That’s partly a factor of developers simply not understanding what makes for a good Apple Watch app (i.e. not just a smaller version of their iPhone app), but it’s also in large part a function of the inability to run apps natively on the Watch. With WatchOS 2, developers will gain that ability, and I believe that will be game-changing.”
“The other thing I’ve believed from the beginning is that the Apple Watch will benefit hugely from word-of-mouth marketing – that is, from people who have a Watch and love it telling their friends, colleagues and others about it,” Dawson writes. “The challenge is that this requires a critical mass of people with Watches to have a significant impact, and it also requires them to love it enough to become promoters. I suspect it’s too early for either of these impacts to be meaningful yet, but I suspect that as we enter the fourth quarter of 2015, and after the launch of WatchOS 2, both the larger number of Apple Watches in the wild and the third party app explosion will make a meaningful difference.”
Tons more in the full article – recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: As we explained on May 22nd:
The Apple Watch supply problem has caused a pause. Most of those early adopters are still just getting or haven’t even received their Apple Watches yet. So the third wave, the early majority, haven’t yet experienced their impetus to go get/order their Watches: Seeing them in use on the wrists of the innovators/early adopters. Plus, the well-publicized lack of demand (no availability for a month or longer) also causes the next wave to pause. They can’t get them online or in stores, so in their minds, there’s no rush.
Therefore, Apple Watch is in pause mode until the early adopters get their Watches, show them off, and until Apple actually gets Watches into retail stores so that people can actually buy them and walk out with them.
Granted, Apple’s incompetent rollout of a product with no actual product to rollout for 2+ months has negatively impacted the launch of Apple Watch. Where there was once tremendous buzz back in April, it has diminished significantly due to the idiotically long wait for product delivery. Nothing kills momentum like a botched rollout. Hopefully, some measure of excitement can be recaptured. Apple Watch is a great product, but if nobody has one you can’t hope to build upon the momentum generated by early adopters and spread beyond them into the early majority buyers.
The Apple Watch launch was obviously botched. You cannot sell units without units to sell. And you cannot maintain momentum without promptly satisfying early adopters so they can spread the excitement to the next wave, the early majority.
Apple should have stayed silent last autumn, held an appropriately-timed Apple Watch unveiling event in March, and launched the device in June after they had sufficient units on hand and in stores.
If Apple was on their next CEO, one not handpicked by Steve Jobs, and this type of ill-timed “launch” happened, that CEO would currently be under massive fire, and rightfully so.
The good news is that, as we wrote on July 14th:
Apple is so strong that they can launch new products not just to Innovators and Early Adopters, but straight into the Early Majority (who usually require the influence of Early Adopters).
Despite the launch hiccups, Apple Watch will be just fine. Watch and see.
Non-techies love their Apple Watches even more than tech users – July 20, 2015
Look who bought the first Apple Watches – July 14, 2015
Apple Watch satisfaction is unprecedented at 97%; beats original iPhone and iPad – July 20, 2015