Date
25 May 2017
The Apple Watch is popular despite lacking much functionality and its battery having to be charged daily. Photo: Bloomberg
The Apple Watch is popular despite lacking much functionality and its battery having to be charged daily. Photo: Bloomberg

Apple Watch outsells iPhone in first year

Apple Inc. sold twice as many of its Apple Watches in the device’s first year as iPhones in the smartphone’s debut year.

Yet the smartwatch is dogged by a perception of disappointment that seems premature given the history of Apple’s most popular devices, The Wall Street Journal reported.

As the Watch marked its first anniversary Sunday — two days before Apple’s quarterly earnings announcement — the product’s fate is critical to the company.

It is Apple’s first all-new product since the iPad and a test of the consumer electronics giant’s ability to innovate under chief executive Tim Cook as sales of iPhones are slowing.

​So far, the numbers appear solid. Analysts estimate about 12 million Watches were sold in the first year.

At an estimated average price of US$500, that is a US$6 billion business with three times the annual revenue of activity tracker Fitbit Inc.

By comparison, Apple sold roughly six million iPhones in its first year.

As a new entrant, the Watch accounted for about 61 percent of global smartwatch sales last year, research firm IDC estimated.

And yet, detractors such as Fred Wilson, co-founder of venture capital firm Union Square Ventures, declared the Watch a “flop” in December.

Wilson had earlier predicted the Watch wouldn’t be a “home run” like the iPad, iPhone and iPod, saying many people wouldn’t want to wear a computer on their wrist.

The Watch has shortcomings. It is slow, with an underpowered processor that is throttled at times to extend the device’s battery life.

It lacks mobile and global positioning system connections, meaning it must be accompanied by an iPhone, limiting its usefulness as an independent device.

The battery needs to be charged every day.

And there is no task the Apple Watch handles that can’t be done by an iPhone or a less expensive activity tracker.

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