Benedict Evans' perfectly reasonable Apple Watch success assessment

Successment? Whatever.

Benedict Evans, on his own site:

New Apple product categories tend to compress the hype cycle, going from elation to despair and back again before anyone outside Cupertino has even laid hands on the thing. They also tend to create confusion - what is this thing, is it useful, and why would I want it? Confusion is the mark of a transformative product - the iPod or iPhone, for example. But it's also the mark of a failed product, such as Google Glass.

Looking at objective measures like sales (is it just that you, personally, don't get it?) doesn't necessarily help, at least not yet. Apple had said that it wouldn't give sales figures for the Apple Watch, but in the event it gave some pretty strong hints: well over $1bn in revenue and something around 3m units in the first (partial) quarter of sales. That can't be called a flop, at least not yet. But you also can't call the success or failure of a new Apple product by looking at sales in the first quarter or even of the first version - there's too much variability. The iPod and iPhone looked like failures at first and the iPad (not a failure, but certainly disappointing at this stage) looked much better.

Anyone claiming that the Apple Watch is a flop at this point is a moron, more interested in selfishly drumming up buzz about their own asinine hot take than actually adhering to any sort of journalistic integrity. And why not? This is the environment that has been bred by publications relentlessly suckling at the dried up teat of a CPM monetization strategy. Fuck it, say whatever gets you those ad dollars.

We'll see how these things go in the next few quarters, and then the next few iterations of the device. Apple is not a company that just jumps into something like this without a clear idea of what the roadmap looks like years down the road. It's foolish to assume otherwise.

The fact of the matter is that Apple has already sold a great number of these devices, and we already see actual owners holding them in very high regard. As the Watch follows along the expected trajectory of other Apple products (initial release that elevates a category, subsequent updates that continue to refine the core product, an inevitable untethering from the shackles of its compatriot), we'll see what has flopped and what has not.

Until then, maybe it's just our eagerness to declare a winner or loser in this situation that's completely flawed.