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One year after its launch, things aren’t looking up for Apple Watch

Updated Apr 12th, 2016 2:36AM EDT
Apple Watch Sales 2016 Projection

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It’s been nearly one year since the launch of the Apple Watch. While the device is easily the most successful smartwatch ever released, it hasn’t exactly set the world on fire the way the iPhone and iPad once did. Well connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities is projecting that Apple Watch shipments are actually going to decrease by 25% this year despite the fact that Apple is planning to release a second-generation Apple Watch.

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I should note first that people who own the Apple Watch really like it. Per Re/code, a new survey from advertising company Fluent shows that 77% of Apple Watch owners consider the device a success and that two thirds of them plan to upgrade to the newest version of the watch when it comes out. And that’s all great, but there seems to be more limited upside for the device — among the general population, 53% of people do not think the Apple Watch has been a successful product, for example.

What’s really interesting about Fluent’s survey are the reasons Apple Watch owners list for not buying a next-generation Apple Watch: 34% of owners cited high prices as a reason for not buying, while 31% said the device just wasn’t useful enough to justify buying, and another 16% simply said the device is “ugly.”

The most interesting factor from my perspective is that the Apple Watch isn’t useful enough because it’s long been the view that I’ve had of smartwatches as a whole. Writing over at Quartz, Apple Watch owner Mike Murphy explains that Apple Watch “hasn’t shown that it can perform enough useful functions to make the average person think, yes, this is something that’s worth a few hundred dollars as it’s exciting and will help me in my life.”

He admits that he really likes the ability to use Apple Watch for mobile payments and he says that its health tracking capabilities are “simpler, more useful, and more reliable, than other ecosystems like Jawbone and Fitbit.” Nonetheless, he believes that one year after the Apple Watch’s launch, “it’s become apparent that there really isn’t much of a need to get one.”

It’s possible that the Apple Watch could develop a cult following and in particular it should be loved by fitness fanatics who also double as Apple fans. But it doesn’t look like it’s going to be the next big thing.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.