What constitutes a success in the mobile space these days? Is it the absolute number sold, or the number sold in relation to its next biggest competitor? Or perhaps it’s the profit margin, which the company can pump back into research and development, or to shareholders through dividends.
Last week, we reported that despite selling fewer phones overall than Samsung, Apple’s income comprises 92% of the industry’s total net profit, an astounding figure that speaks to the company’s ability to sell its products at prices far exceeding its immediate competition.
It’s with that eye that we look at one of the first comprehensive surveys of Apple Watch satisfaction. Apple is unlikely to tally the number of units sold in its Q3 earnings, though estimates range from a couple of million to over 10m, but those that have purchased the wearable generally seem to love it.
Wristly, an independent wearables research company, along with Techpinion’s Ben Bajarin, surveyed over 800 Apple Watch owners from four distinct categories: “App Builder”;”Tech Insider”, who self-identified as early adopters; “Media/Investors”; and “Non-tech users,” amounting to people who purchased the device without distinct loyalty to Apple or its products.
The survey results were interesting. Two-thirds of users were “very satisfied” with their purchases, and another 31% were “somewhat satisfied,” a positive metric that amounts to a near-perfect rating for the wearable. As we noted in our review, the Apple Watch manages to succeed despite many of the issues inherent to first-generation products and the associated hardware limitations therein.
The Apple Watch also managed to supersede the satisfaction ratings of the first-generation iPhone and iPad, both of which have increased in popularity and reliability since 2007 and 2010, respectively. To wit, both the iPhone and iPad are consistently rated as two of the most “satisfying” user purchases in the tech industry.
Wristly’s survey found that most non-tech users were more forgiving of the Apple Watch’s perceived flaws, too, harping only on the performance and battery life rather than UI elements and third-party app quality, areas in which tech reviewers were typically quite critical. Indeed, 73% of the non-tech users surveyed were “very satisfied,” while another 26% were “somewhat satisfied.” Developers, on the other hand, were much more likely to be either “somewhat satisfied,” or “neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.” Considering Apple is heavily pushing developers to reevaluate the wearable with watchOS 2, wherein native apps and third-party complications will be featured, this number is likely to shift towards the general consumer sentiment over the next year.
Analysts also expect a new category from Apple to outperform its previous one, but the iPad grew so quickly, and the iPhone so steadily, that it will be nearly impossible for the Watch, an accessory that relies on an iPhone, to match them.
Even if it stays a relatively niche product by Apple standards, compared to the iPhone and iPad, the Watch can only be considered a success, even at this early juncture.