The recent launch of the Apple Watch was somewhat low-key, but Apple has already confirmed that extravagant device releases are not a thing of the past. The consumer electronics giant has previously pulled out all of the stops for some of its flagship iPhone releases, and the corporation has not ruled out similarly glitzy events in the future.
Muted Apple Watch unveiling
In the case of the Apple Watch, the unveiling and release of the device will be carried out online in what will be a pretty muted event compared to previous Apple device launches. Apple also ensured that the sort of scenes which we have become accustomed to over the years would not be repeated with the Apple Watch, when they effectively banned the general public from queueing up to purchase a watch on release date.
Thus, the sort of scenes which we have witnessed for previous iPhone releases definitely will not occur with the Apple Watch, but Apple has indicated that this is not a blanket policy. The retail head of the electronics behemoth, Angela Ahrendts, has indicated that the release model for the Apple Watch will not be copied when other devices emerge.
These details have only been released due to a leaked video which was intended solely for Apple staff. In the video which has now been published online, Ahrendts stated that “we all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days — and there will be many more to come”. So we can safely assume that they will be more spectacular launches to come from Apple in the foreseeable future.
It appears based on information that has seeped out of Apple that the humble launch of the Apple Watch has been related to a limited stock of the smartwatch. Apple evidently intends for the Apple Watch to be a conservative device for the time being, and has made relatively paltry estimates regarding the number of units that it will shift.
This is in accordance with the general policy of Apple, which is to generally underestimate the number of devices that it will sell in a certain period. It was only recently that it emerged that Apple has significantly underestimated the number of iPhones that it will flog during the first-quarter of this calendar year, with the number of handsets sold actually likely to be in excess of 5 million more than the Apple estimate.
With the Apple Watch, Apple is clearly unsure about the impact of this device, and has quite shrewdly decided to ensure that it can’t be embarrassed at a later date by trumpeting it too strongly. Thus, we have seen a pretty modest launch and promotion of the device thus far, even if Apple obviously has massive plans for the Apple Watch going forward.
The reason for this uncertainty is that the smartwatch genre has yet to become truly successful. There were big predictions made for wearable technology when the concept first emerged, but these have yet to be reflected in the massively competitive consumer electronics marketplace. Smartwatches have not sold particularly well thus far, with Apple’s great rival Samsung struggling to shift its own Galaxy Gear smartwatch.
Smartwatches have perhaps not particularly appeal to the general public because manufacturers have struggled to adequately define what the genre represents, and what smartwatches can do for the general public which cannot already be carried out conveniently by smartphones. In that sense, the smartwatch has been viewed as something of a red herring; a device that serves no legitimate purpose. This has been strongly reflected in the fact that the aforementioned Galaxy Gear smartwatch has sold only 2 million units in its entire life cycle thus far.
Kick-starting smartwatch market
By contrast, it is already anticipated that the muted approach that Apple has taken to the Apple Watch will not be reflected in consumer response. The most optimistic analyst expectations are that the Apple Watch will shift around 20 million units during 2015. And if this ten-fold increase over any other smartwatch may seem slightly fanciful, it is worth pointing out that Apple usually exceeds analysts’ expectations rather than failing to meet them.
Already there are strong indications that the Apple Watch will instantly become a market-leader in the smartwatch niche when it is released. Early reports indicate that Apple has fielded in excess of 2.3 million pre-orders of the device, with 1 million coming on day one. And this number is already likely to have inflated to around 3 million.
With Apple having planned for around 5 million Apple Watch sales in the early weeks of the device’s release, according to reports there are already supplied issues for the California-based corporation, and this has led to some of the Apple Watch online orders being marked as being delayed for several months. Whether this will materialise in reality, or whether Apple will be able to honor its online pre-orders remains to be seen, but it is clear that the lunch will be a commercial success for the company.
iPhone 7 set for bumper launch
But the video which has emerged indicates that Apple will not be taking a cautious approach to future device releases. This will probably be welcome news to both fans of Apple and people that work within the company. Creating a genuine feeling of excitement when Apple releases a new device has been a massive part of the company’s strategy, and the comments from Ahrendts clearly indicate that this is not a thing of the past.
This would make logical sense for Apple considering the immense success of the iPhone, which shows absolutely no signs of abating. The iPhone 7 will be a particularly massive product launch for Apple, as when it arrives (in what is now expected to be 2016), it should be a truly revolutionary handset.
With Apple establishing a strong brand penetration in China, and selling increasing numbers of units in emerging economies, the immediate prospect for the Apple iPhone series is only for sales to increase. This is something that Apple is extremely unlikely to keep quiet!