Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released fiscal third quarter earnings numbers after the bell on Tuesday, and shares fell 7% in after hours trading on the revelation that iPhone sales fell short of analyst expectations. And some investors view the company’s secrecy surrounding their Apple Watch sales numbers as a red flag for the company’s newest product category.
The only indication that Apple gave is that the Watch outsold iPhones and iPads in their first nine weeks as a product. The early iPhone struggled to gain traction and Apple sold just three million iPads in its first quarter, so the bar is lower than that.
“I don’t think the success of the Apple Watch will be anywhere near that of the iPhone or the iPad,” said Angelo Zino, analyst at S&P Capital IQ. They “probably sold roughly in the range of two million devices and that is considerably below what the Street was looking at” for this quarter. Most analysts were estimating that between 10 million and 30 million watches would be sold in its initial year, with early adopters buying the devices at launch.
We also know that Apple sold less than $2.6 billion, which is the total revenue for the “other products” category that includes iPods and accessories. The watches range in price from $349 to $17,000, with a likely average selling price around $500.
Apple announced last fall that it would not be releasing the watch for “competitive reasons,” but many speculate that grouping sales figures with iPods and accessories was a way to conceal any initial product launch disappointment. The company admitted that it ran into supply chain problems and did not introduce the watches into stores until two months after the online release.
While the company’s revenue is still largely tied to its massively successful smartphone business, investors are watching the Apple Watch category as an indication of things to come.
The silence is concerning some investors, said Zino. It “adds more uncertainty for investors out there and that’s the last thing you want to do if you’re Apple.”
Apple shares closed Tuesday at $130.75. Shares are up 18% year-to-date.