Why Apple will not reveal official Apple Watch sales figures (and may never do)

apple watch

Since the Apple Watch went on sale, the Cupertino company has received numerous criticisms for not revealing its official sales in the presentation of results.

A negative that has caused many to call it a failure in its first quarter but now it is no longer. Especially when numerous contenders have fallen out of the race while Apple has introduced its third generation.

While analysts say that sales are around 22-27 million units so far, the company maintains its position of not disclosing them. And that is the world’s best-selling smartwatch, also the world’s most successful watch brand (smart or not). This is the reason why Apple might not give its arm to cheer.

I may never do it

The secret is in the S-shaped curve

The S-curve or S-curve in English is a very interesting economic concept.

The upper graph shows a curve S that represents the evolution of the speed of sailboats over the centuries. Between the years 1,500 and 1,650, the technological advance in this matter was scarce: hardly increased the speed of sailboats.

However, during the next 100 years, it went from 6 to 16 knots, approximately. Subsequently and until the beginning of the 20th century, there was a stagnation in the progress of this technology.

This curve can be classified into three phases: the beginning of the primitive technology, an explosion of yield and maturity. At the beginning of this race, the advances are scarce, insignificant and very spaced in time.

But, suddenly, a substantial improvement occurs that allows a gigantic expansion in a very short time, and then stagnate.

The interesting thing about this representation is that it coincides with the adoption phases of certain products. In the chart above we see the adoption of the smartphone in the US. The precursors of the iPhone acted as products-experiment for early adopters.

The iPhone in 2007 also served this type of user until in 2010 the iPhone 4 gave the leap to the mainstream public. By the end of 2017, we are at the beginning of the maturity of this technology. This explains the decrease in sales in the market as a whole.

If we go a step further, we can say that here is the reason that Apple does not disclose the sales of its Apple Watch. Why? If he did, he would be giving clues to his competitors, not only the average price of his watches, but also the timing of the S curve we are in.

If we knew the actual sales of Apple Watch, we would know the position in the S curve of this market
Going back to the charts, knowing the Apple Watch sales volume, anyone could use them to create an S-curve. This information would allow calculating the precise moment in which the explosion of adoption of the smartwatch between the public is going to start. From which can be deduced when it would be more convenient to enter the market and when not.

Seeing the increasing difficulty of numerous companies as well as the disappearance of competitors, that information would be worth a lot of money. Knowing this value, Apple prefers to keep it in spite of the fact that this means to make investors nervous and to be the target of doubts and predictions of failure.

Dear iPad with you started everything

Seeing this way, it is understandable that the company of Cupertino has decided to retain this data for itself. However, a few years ago made the mistake of publicizing the sales figures of the iPad. It was probably because of Steve Jobs’s tradition of being transparent in quarterly reports. According to my experience analyzing these reports, Apple is the technology company that reveals more information about its sales to shareholders.

Few experts and journalists were betting on the iPad. Upon reaching the market, customers decided that it would be a bestial product whose success was reflected in Apple reports. And the competitors took note quickly. And they pulled out their own products, clumsy at the start, to settle in the low range afterward. Although this was not the main reason for the puncture of the iPad since that honor corresponds to the smartphones of great diagonal.

The Apple Watch is the watch with the highest turnover in the world, ahead of Rolex
That said, there is no doubt that Apple was complicated the picture with the iPad due to the information that voluntarily delivered and that the firms of analysts and competitors devoured avidly. Withdrawing that information would have misplaced investors and the damage was already done. So Apple also took notes and learned the lesson for the following product: the Apple Watch.

Long ago I thought that Apple would divulge the concrete figures of the Apple Watch when these supposed a significant portion of its business. Or when the SEC ordered it (although I have not found legislation on it). Now I think Apple could combine it with other products to meet and at the same time mask the actual sales. All for competitive reasons.