As we draw nearer the April launch of the Apple Watch, it’s to be expected that more and more rumors, speculation and ‘expert’ opinions will surface. This week we learned that Apple Inc. has placed a sizable production order for its new wearable, that it may become “the most successful smartwatch ever”, and that not all the intended health-related features made it into the final product.
Apple ordered five million Apple Watches from supplier
On instructions from Apple, Taiwan-based Quanta Computer Inc., the sole assembler of Apple Watch is producing a combined five to six million units across the three models to go on sale in April.
Anonymous sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal claim that half of the first-quarter production run consists of the entry-level Apple Watch Sport model, while one-third is allocated to the mid-tier Apple Watch.
These same sources said that while the initial order for Apple Watch Edition –the high-end model featuring 18-karat gold casings—is relatively small, Apple intends to raise production to more than one million units per month in the second quarter.
Apple Watch forecast to sell 20 million units in the first year
Research firm CSS Insight forecasts Apple could sell as many as 20 million smartwatches in its first year. This, said CSS Insight, will make Apple Watch “the most successful smartwatch ever.”
The bar is set low though, since to date smartwatch sales have been rather lackluster.
Pebble, one of the first smartwatch players, says it has sold only 1 million units in the two years it’s been on sale, while smartwatches from Samsung and LG running Google Inc.’s Android Wear OS have sold a mere 720,000 units in 2014, according to research firm Canalys.
Apple was forced to cut health-related features from Apple Watch
A report this week in the Wall Street Journal claims that Apple cut a number of health features from the Apple Watch, citing difficulties with the built-in sensors.
Apparently features like monitoring heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels proved hard to execute as factors like the tightness of the watch’s band, varying skin moisture levels and even the amount of body hair on a wearer’s wrist interfered with the measurements.
The report further suggests that Apple may have shied away from health-related features that would invite regulatory scrutiny from the likes of the FDA.
Instead, the Apple Watch offers a mix of functionality and will primarily function as a companion device to the iPhone.
Even if Apple hits the lofty forecast and sells 20 million watches in its first year, the revenue will only be a drop in the ocean compared to the 74.5 million iPhones the company sold in the last quarter alone.
The Apple Watch Sport is set to go on sale at $349 and online reports speculate that the Apple Watch Edition could cost well over $4,000. No price has been revealed for the mid-tier Apple Watch.