Here’s what Apple CEO Cook said about Apple Watch’s holiday sales

“At a Town Hall meeting at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, Tim Cook gave staffers a bit more detail about Apple Watch sales than he gave analysts last week,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt repots for Fortune.

P.E.D. reports, “According to 9to5Mac‘s Mark Gurman: ‘Cook also called the Apple Watch one of the ‘hottest’ holiday gifts, and he claimed that sales of the device exceeded those of the original iPhone in its first holiday quarter in 2007.'”

“That sounds better than it is,” P.E.D. reports. “According to my records, Apple sold 2,314,000 iPhones that first holiday quarter.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Notably, Cook didn’t give a top end. Could have been 2,314,001. Could have been double that or more. Apple Watch unit sales are closely guarded for competitive reasons.


  1. Once you establish a desire for ‘silent’ notifications, for any of dozens of reasons, you can bet Apple is looking at the “Think Different” slogan and deciding they need an in-ear-behind-the-ear-on the glasses temples ‘silent watch.’

    I don’t wear watches in a manufacturing environment or machine shop as they get destroyed. An earpiece of some design makes 10 times as much sense.

    I’ll bet 10/1 money Apple is already designing the next big thing so Tim Cook can say “Oh, & one more thing …”

      1. As a hearing aid wearer (and there are plenty of us), something that could replace my current devices AND be great for people without hearing problems would be a Godsend.

  2. The Watch is not a major product yet. It needs some ubiquitous-ready works. Those of us first adopter info addicts LOVE IT. When the ROTW catches on, they’ll give sales numbers. In the meantime, if they make 90% of wearables profit and don’t have to reveal info that exposes that number it is strategically essential to keep the info close to the chest.

  3. This sort of comment by Tim is exactly why statistics gets such a bad name. Yeah, its more than what iphone sold in first holiday quarter. So what – how big was the user base pre-iphone to now. How is that even a fair comparison? I hope the watch sales explode but this sort of comment just portrays something else.

    1. I think it is a fair comparison. It’s a totally new device, truly an unknown, just like the iPhone was totally new in 2007. How many smart watches did Samsung, Huawei, or even Pebble sell during the same quarter? Anywhere close to 2.4 million units?

      Thought so.

    2. Tim provided anecdotal evidence. Yes, anecdotal evidence has a bad name. He provided no actual statistics. The only reason statistics has a bad name is because:

      A) The wrong statistic is applied to a subject.
      B) A bogus statistic is applied to a subject, (my favorite is correlation, which can be almost worthless).
      C) The collected source data was bogus.
      D) They’re invented and are therefore entirely bogus.

        1. I think you mean the ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ famous newspaper blunder. I’ve never seen these blunders called ‘The Dewey Effect’. Searching around the net, it turns out there are at least two other ‘Dewey Effect’ definitions not related poor population sampling.

  4. Apple did $10.4B TY vs. $7.5B LY in the catchall Other category including “Watch, TV, Beats, iPod, Accessories, Music, Pay, Apps, Apple Care, Licensing, iCloud.” That growth of $2.9B likely came from:
    -Apps (Growth of 30% for the year. Huge quarterly growth – let’s say $500M)
    -Apple Music (8.5M x $10 x 3 ~ $255M)
    -Apple Care (likely grew a little due to Upgrade program)
    -Apple TV (annual business was about $1B before, so let’s be generous and say they grew the business $200M in the quarter with a great product)
    -Beats (lets assume flat to slight growth)
    -Licensing (grew by ~$525M due to one time payment from Samsung)
    -Accessories (assume slight growth)
    -Apple Pay (lets be generous and say growth of $100M)
    -iCloud (slight growth)
    -iPod (slight decline)

    So with all the puts and takes, that adds up to about $1.5B leaving Apple Watch $1.4B. $1.4B/$450 = about 3.1M watches which is 34% more than the iPhone sold during its first holiday season – feels about right and close enough to 2.1M iphones. Of their new growth initiatives it is by far their biggest but hardly enough to get too excited about, yet. Add the entire Other category together with growth of 32% (without Samsung payment), though, and you can see how their installed base is starting to pay off, albeit slower than we’d all like. I wouldn’t call it a hockey stick, yet.

    Btw, if you just look at Apple’s traditional computing hardware sales (iPhone, iPad, Mac) they declined -2.5% or -$1.6B. That is a fact and something to be genuinely concerned about, regardless of currency exchange headwinds.

    NET/NET: Apple Watch has to succeed in the short term. Tim Cook’s security depends on it.

    1. If Cook’s security depends on the Watch, then Apple has bigger problems.

      The Watch is still a niche product that needs time to mature. That’s okay, but Cook seems to go out of his way to sell its success AT THE DETRIMENT of all the stuff he’s screwed up. Mac hardware and software could sell much better if Apple got its head together. iPods wouldn’t die if Apple updated them once in a while.

      “other” is a catchall that shows that Apple is a company that no longer sweats the details. Cook showed from the minute he arrived that he’s not interested in sweating the small stuff that once made Apple great.

      1. Well, I think we are at least talking about the same thing which suggests that we are at least looking at this the right way. But I would say that they are sweating the details. They purposely grouped all these other revenue streams together precisely to isolate them so that Wall Street can measure their growth and value the company as more than just a hardware company. The installed based is now the driver of their monthly recurring revenue business model.

        I do think that Cook has to make the Watch a success. Failure is not an option for his credibility and legacy. IF and When it achieves the hockey stick growth that we’ve all come to expect of Apple platforms, his reputation will be preserved and the recurring revenue will follow. They put way too much time, energy and attention into it to fail.

  5. Apple’s Watch is already a successful product. It will get better with every release and it will maintain its market share. No-one expected it to sell in iPhone volumes. But it’s still a big business in itself. I’d like to see international sales numbers – I have only ever seen two in the wild, in Sydney. The Watch desk in the Bondi Junction Apple Store is always forlornly empty. But it’s a beach suburb and you’re not going to go surfing with an Apple Watch…

  6. The ONLY reason the watch did well during the Christmas shopping season is because almost every place that sold the watch, except for Apple’s own stores, sold them at some form of $100 off. Best Buy and B&H had them at $100 off. Target had them with a $100 gift card and there were other stores that had variations of the $100 off.

    The $100 off price is why I bought 2 for my kids. I would never have paid $350 each but $250 each with free shipping and no tax from B&H was a different story.

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