Like many of you, I followed the live blog of Apple’s Spring Forward event on Monday and then watched the keynote to boot. Yes, I’ve been an iPhone, iPad and iMac user for years, but I’m not a fanboy who hands over his money to Apple every time they flash a shiny new object. However, as a technologist and marketer I cannot help but admire Apple’s culture of innovation as well as marketing genius. They are the best I’ve ever seen at both.
After careful study, I have drawn my own conclusions and feel that the Apple Watch will in fact be an enormous success. As people grow bored of their iPads (like me), they will not upgrade them, but rather will opt for a new $400 toy they deem to be more useful, the Apple Watch. As masters of marketing and sales promotion, the hype is building up quite nicely for them and I predict about 1 million pre-orders between April 10th and 24th. By the end of 2Q15 the total number of units sold will be around 3 million with the majority of the units sold being of the Apple Watch Sport variety. However, things will really heat up in 4Q15 and there will be an Apple Watch frenzy resulting in Santa’s worst nightmare. So many different watch bands…so little time! I predict between 6 and 7 million units sold in the fourth quarter alone bringing my 2015 total estimate to somewhere around 13 to 14 million units.
Yes. It’s hard to fathom. But Apple is following a familiar playbook. If you recall, they sold close to 10 million iPads in the first 9 months after it was released in April of 2010 and over 14 million units after one year, according to Statista. Way over the early estimates of skeptical market experts.
I believe, the Apple Watch will be bigger than the iPad because it offers a new and unique set of capabilities to Apple users, whereas the iPad was dubbed at the time by many as “just a bigger iPhone”. Whether you think some of Apple Watch’s new features and capabilities are a novelty or not, it doesn’t matter. The razzle-dazzle of physical alerts, Digital Touch and Sketch are well marketed and quite enticing, especially to Millennials who “think differently” about interpersonal communications.
Most importantly, Apple appears to have nailed the most important use case — health and fitness. This will excite the bulk of the market, making it the perfect holiday gift for bloated consumers with heavy-duty New Years’ resolutions. In addition, their burgeoning partnerships with major hospital networks nationwide will ignite a new ecosystem of apps, developers and start-ups never seen before.
Now, if your 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network wasn’t bad enough already, imagine what 13 million Apple Watch’s will do to it. It could absolutely crush it at a time you thought you finally had it managed and under control. And because of the low power requirements of the watch, you should not necessarily expect a 5GHz Apple Watch to arrive any time soon.
Does anybody have any ideas for how to manage the situation? Apple Watch throughput requirements may be low, but what about the noise floor? How will every other device on your 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network be affected? Or does it even matter since more and more smartphones and laptops, with greater throughput requirements, will be moving over to 5GHz? I would love to get your thoughts. Please comment below.