Apple CEO Tim Cook is deliberately obtuse when describing how well the Apple Watch is selling. This is the most notable major new product Apple has created under his stewardship.
He’s never released revenue or unit sales. However, during the company’s quarterly earnings call with analysts on Tuesday he gave a hint. He said that Apple’s wearable business, which includes the Watch, Beats headphones and the new Airpods, is now “the size of a Fortune 500 company.”
OK, then. Burlington Stores is No. 500 on the Fortune 500 list, with just over $US5.1 billion in annual revenue.
So Cook is saying the combined annual revenue of its “wearable” products is at least $US5 billion. Later he emphasised that over the past 12 months, these combined products were “well into the Fortune 500” suggesting that the business could be even bigger than the $US5 billion base assumption.
But exactly how much of that mysterious revenue number of more than $US5 billion is from sales of the Apple Watch versus, say, the Beats headphones, which had about one-third the $US2.5 billion headphone market in 2016, according to NPD?
Cook’s remarks were carefully construed not to reveal that.
The Watch keeps ticking
We do know that Apple’s “other” category of products, which includes these products plus Apple TV, iPod and Apple-branded and third-party accessories, came in at $US2.87 billion for the quarter and just over $US4 billion for the quarter before that. So nearly $US7 billion so far this year.
Cook did say that Apple Watch sales nearly doubled year-over-year and that “Watch units have more than doubled in 6 of our top 10 markets, which is phenomenal growth, particularly in a non-holiday quarter.”
While there’s a general sense that Watch has been sort of a dud, he insisted that Watch is both a success and a product that Apple plans to keep selling for a long time.
“Watch has been a key category for us. We’re really proud of the growth of the business,” he said. “We’re very committed to it. It’s already a big business and we believe over time it will be even larger.”
Meanwhile, market researcher Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies estimates Apple sold around 3.2 million Watch units.
So Apple Watch units were likely around 3.2m units last quarter.
— Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) May 2, 2017