The Apple Watch may be having a slow start, but give it a couple of years. Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster is predicting that Apple Inc.'s smartwatch will hit its stride in 2017.
Munster expects Apple to sell 14 million watches in 2016, with sales spiking to 40 million units in 2017. For now, Munster expects about 3 million Apple Watches were sold in the product's first quarter. That’s on the conservative side of Apple Watch projections for the quarter, which range from 3 million to 5.7 million units, according to a poll conducted by Fortune. But even as those predictions have come out, Apple has remained silent on the specifics of the Apple Watch’s sales performance.
That isn’t expected to change in the short term, since Apple has thrown the Apple Watch in its “other products” category within its financial reports. That also includes the revenue from Apple TV, Beats Electronics, iPod and accessories.
The Apple Watch’s limited availability and slow rollout were cited as potential headwinds for it, according to Munster. At launch, it was available only via online order in nine countries and markets. And it wasn’t until mid-June that Apple began selling the watch in its retail stores, albeit on a limited basis.
But that could change in the coming years, as Apple improves the software and features of the watch.
“Our belief in the longer-term value in the watch is driven by the eventual rollout of native apps starting later this year in V2 of the watch software that will have greater and unique functionality compared to current apps that only mirror the iPhone,” Munster wrote in the research note.
Apple will report the results of its fiscal 2015 third quarter on Tuesday after the bell. Following the earnings release, Apple will hold a conference call to discuss the results starting at 5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT.