Apple Watch shipments may fall by more than one-quarter this year as compared to 2015, claims well-connected KGI Securities Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
In an investment note to clients, Kuo writes that he thinks Apple Watch shipments will top out at fewer than 7.5 million units this year. That’s a significant drop from the 10.6 million units he estimates made up last year’s total shipments of the device.
If true, this number is even worse because it represents a full calendar year of sales for 2016, but only 8 months for 2015 — since the Apple Watch did not ship straightaway last year.
By my reckoning, this would also make the Apple Watch the first new major Apple product line in years to see a decline in sales in its second year. In the case of the iPhone, iPad and iPod, the second year of sales were all superior to the first, while even the Apple TV — advertised as a “hobby” product in its early days — saw stationary sales in year two, before a boost in year three.
Kuo blames the usual suspects for the Apple Watch’s failure to launch: too much reliance on the iPhone for functionality, limited battery life, and a lack of a killer app that makes it a “must-buy” purchase.
The analyst also discusses his thoughts on what we can expect from an Apple Watch 2. Kuo thinks mass production will start in fiscal Q3 this year, meaning we may get a launch alongside the iPhone 7 in September, and that improved connectivity will be one of the big refinements.
But unlike some other analysts — who think Apple will make its follow-up a massive 40 percent thinner than its predecessor — Kuo thinks the second-gen Apple Watch will be more akin to an “S model” refresh, with precious few changes to the form factor.
According to previous rumors, Quanta started trial production of the Apple Watch 2 in January.