The research found that, from a survey of 5174 during the first four months of 2015 leading up to the release of the Apple Watch on 24 April, an estimated 520,000 Australians aged over 14 (2.7 percent) said they intended to buy a smartwatch in the next year.
Back in 2007, in a survey of just over 7000 people, Roy Morgan’s research on technology adoption found a similar proportion intended to buy an iPhone (620,000, or 3.6 percent) during the first four months after the iPhone 3G was released in Australia. Within a year of that research, Apple’s sales closely matched the intentions revealed in the research.
Is it possible Apple Watch will follow the same pattern?
When the iPhone was introduced, there were other smartphones on the market, but none had really captured the public’s imagination and they were considered a tool for techies rather than a consumer electronics essential.
Similarly, there are several smartwatches on the market. Almost every consumer electronics company and many start-ups, like Pebble, have attempted to dominate the market without success.
As well as the data, there’s the development path Apple has chosen.
When the iPhone was introduced, there was no App Store and users had limited customisation options. With the second version of Watch OS due later this year, apps will become more powerful, with the ability to run natively on the Apple Watch. There will also be some user customisation with the ability to add your own images as the background of some watchfaces.
There is a substantial difference between the Apple Watch and the iPhone.
The iPhone has defined what we expect from a modern mobile phone. But in 2007, mobile phone penetration was already very high. The shift towards smartphones had started, but Apple accelerated that by creating a superior user experience.
In contrast, very few people have any sort of smartwatch. In fact, many people don’t even wear a watch anymore. And watches are often seen as a fashion accessory with people wearing different watches on different occasions. The Apple Watch flies in the face of this.