Cook denies Apple Watch sales 'collapse,' says shipments peaked in June
Despite estimates to the contrary, Apple Watch sales didn't fall off a cliff just months after launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday, adding the device actually posted its best-ever performance in June.
The tidbit came out in response to a question posed near the tail end of Apple's quarterly conference call for the third quarter of 2015. Cook, who was expectedly cagey and dodged multiple queries regarding Apple Watch shipment numbers, refuted recent reports speculating that sales rates have declined since launch.
Instead of faltering, Cook revealed Apple Watch sales in June were higher than April or May, an impressive statistic considering overwhelming launch day demand. Stock quickly dwindled when Watch preorders went live on April 10, with all models hit by shipping delays within minutes of going live. Other versions, like the solid gold Apple Watch Edition, showed up as unavailable out of the gate.
Earlier this month, a report from research firm Slice Intelligence picked up by numerous media outlets said Internet-based Apple Watch sales steeply declined to "fewer than 20,000 units per day in June." Pundits assigned the metric overweighted significance to overall sales performance, thereby concluding Watch, the first product to be developed under Cook, was doomed. Slice, suffering blowback after the report gained mainstream media attention, claimed it clearly specified to reporters that data only reflected online statistics.
Apple decided to include Watch shipment numbers in a catchall accounting category dubbed "Other Products" — comprised of iPod, Apple TV, Beats hardware, peripherals and more — in a strategic move meant to conceal real market performance from competitors. Segment revenues expectedly saw dramatic growth in the third quarter, but Cook was quick to point out that it's impossible to extrapolate exact figures from today's earnings release.
Cook did say Watch sales exceeded internal expectations and offset waning revenues from iPod, but the metric offers little insight into hard numbers. In an interview with The New York Times, however, CFO Luca Maestri said the first nine weeks of Watch sales exceeded those of the iPhone and iPad when those devices first launched. Considering those products saw massive subsequent adoption, Apple Watch's future looks bright, especially moving into the holiday shopping season.