AMITIAE - Monday 2 May 2016

Cassandra: Apple Watch for Android - A Discussion

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


One of the themes that has gone through many of the recent analyses on Apple is that the Apple Watch is a failed product. We might note that with an estimated $6 billion in sales, it tops Rolex ($5 billion). A comment from Jay Yarrow on Twitter over the weekend captures this disconnect perfectly: "Echo sold 3 million units. Gets stories that it's next great business for Amazon. Apple Watch sold 12 million units, gets panned as a flop."

Apple does not reveal the actual sales of the Apple Watch, which has Wall Street in a tizzy. With some, like the Daily Mail (I cannot link to this in Thailand) calling it a flop, while others have a variety of opinions:

  • Apple's Watch Outpaced the iPhone in First Year (Daisuke Wakabayashi, Wall Street Journal);

  • Apple Watch Sales Hit 7 Million (Paul Lamkin, Forbes);

  • IDC predicts 14M Apple Watch sales in 2016, growing to 31M in 2020 (AppleInsider);

  • This chart shows very clearly why people are disappointed by Apple Watch sales (Eugene Kim, Business Insider); and

  • At One Year Old Is Apple's Watch a Flop? Not Exactly (Hilary Brueck, Fortune)

Note that neither the Daily Mail nor Henry Blodget's Business Insider are particularly pro-Apple. Blodget's tirades against Apple when he is a guest on TV are as entertaining as they are frustrating. AppleInsider usually tends to be pro-Cupertino. Note also that AppleInsider and Eugene Kim (Business Insider) use the same IDC data but come up with different conclusions.

Unlike the iPhone and other iOS devices, the Apple Watch does not have an overt presence in the streets. By its nature, a watch is a discreet device, sometimes hidden by a well-cut cuff. Nonetheless, I see few of my own students with an Apple Watch, while plenty these days have iOS devices and Macs: much changed from years before.

The perception still is that either not enough Watches have been sold; or that the Apple Watch has not reached its full potential. The net effect is the same.

Apple Watch Apple Watch Apple Watch

Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport - Only one at a Time

Is there a lesson here that history could teach Apple? Apple responds well to sensible ideas. Although there was some resistance initially, particularly from Steve Jobs, opening up iTunes to Windows helped establish the iPod as a major MP3 player and in some ways helped the expansion of digital music, eventually (if not totally) bringing about much needed change to the music industry.

Apple Watch Currently, the Apple Watch needs a user to have an iPhone. Indeed, until a short time ago (from iOS 9.3) a user with two watches needed two iPhones. I argued when pushing for this change that some users might have one device for the gym and another for business or evening wear.

This need (then) for a second iPhone was inconvenient, particularly when accessing certain apps on the Watch. Allowing more than one Apple Watch to be paired with a single iPhone was a sensible change.

However, if I want to buy a Watch for a friend or family member I can not unless the friend had an iPhone. Recent information from the Q2 2016 financial reports, suggest that sales of the Watch are considered by Apple to be seasonal: gifts.

Many of those I know here might actually desire an iPhone, but budgetary constraints mean they often buy an Android device. Of course they justify this in any number of ways. Their eyes do not lie though.

Apple already has a number of ways to help Android users including an app to assist when switching to an iPhone and the opening up of Apple Music - a service that currently has some 13m users - with an Apple Music Android app is a sensible step.

Opening up the Apple Watch to pair with Android devices might be a step in the direction of generating higher sales. A suitable Apple Watch app would allow the pairing of these personal devices with a user's Android smartphone. Many of the apps I use on the iPhone that have Apple Watch versions are also available in Google Play. Adapting these for a Google-Apple Watch hybrid environment is not impossible.

Such a move may attract some users first to the Apple Watch and later - as the Apple Music app is intended to do - to the Apple and Mac platforms. The iPhone SE has Apple moving down the price, if not the quality. An Android-capable Apple Watch could increase popularity of the device to a new generation of users.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



Made on Mac

For further information, e-mail to

Back to eXtensions
Back to Home Page

All content copyright © G. K. Rogers 2016