Thinking through Apple product adoption cycles

“I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the various hardware product categories in the consumer technology market, how each of them is faring, and the common trends and differences between them,” Jan Dawson writes for Tech.pinions. “It’s occurred to me that – if viewed from a certain angle – adoption cycles for major product categories seem to be shortening. I want to use Apple’s last four major products to illustrate this but also to pull out some broader trends about what’s happening in the hardware industry.”

“What I’ve done here is take trailing 4-quarter sales for each product from the quarter it was launched as far as we have data and then superimpose those four data sets on each other so we can compare them,” Dawson writes. “The scale is obviously not consistent between charts and that’s important, but it’s the pattern we’re looking at here, not the absolute size:”

Apple, trialing 4-qtr shipments from launch (iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch)

“What changed between those first two products and the last two? It might be partly a question of scale – the iPhone has found a much larger addressable market than the iPad and, as such, it took longer to reach a peak. Maybe, but the iPad found a larger addressable market than the iPod, peaking at around 75 million shipments a year versus the iPod’s peak of around 55 million, so that can’t be the whole answer,” Dawson writes. “I’d argue that what really changed were the fact those first two products existed when the second two launched.

Much more in the full article – highly recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: We agree that Apple Watch certainly has not peaked. The first-gen was approaching 17 months old before the next-gen Apple Watch models were released (April 24, 2015 vs. September 16, 2016). That’s a long time in tech years. The new Apple Watch Series 2 is a significant leap forward. There’s much, much more to come with Apple Watch.

And, Apple Watch is here to stay, backed by the world’s most valuable company and with OS releases that dramatically improve the value of the hardware over time. Those stuck on other platforms, as they stagnate, run out of money, and die, will be moving to the only smartwatch with a real future. As those who made the mistake of wasting their money on a Microsoft Band or a Pebble recently discovered.


  1. Think about this for a second, it doesn’t take a genius to ascertain the fact that if you have to ask the question “is it a failure” that there is most likely enough ambiguity involved to essentially answer your own question.

    You have a CEO in charge that most major investors have absolutely ZERO confidence in. I will let you all use your own judgment as to why, however I feel as though it is quite obvious.

    1. Think for just a second? Yeah, your’s must be a well thought out argument. It also doesn’t take a genius to just ask, “is it a failure?” Someone much more like a genius would assert that if you don’t know all the facts, either outcome is a possibility. It does not mean all paths lead to failure. Only a biased simpleton would jump to such an absolute conclusion.

      Apple made it clear why they’re not giving out sales figures. You can choose to believe them or not. Of course, if you’re already coming at this from a negative point of view, you’re going to believe whatever you want to make your argument ring true.

      Im going to believe Apple though. It’s (was) a market full of fairly competant compitetors. One way to keep those competitors guessing is to not release sales numbers for a particular product. If Apple had not screamed that the iPad was such a wild success in the beginning, how many others would’ve jumped into the market? Lesson learned.

  2. So now MDN is going to cherry pick shipping data rather than sales data in an attempt to defend the poor selling Apple Watch?

    Nobody has accurate sales figures except Apple, and they are not proud enough of them to reveal the truth to investors and squelch the naysayers once and for all. What does that tell you?

    The Apple Watch will always be a niche product that most people just can’t justify owning. The sooner you accept that, the sooner we can turn our attention to deal with far bigger and far more lucrative markets that Apple is mismanaging, like the Mac.

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