It appears the Apple Watch may be ready to make its move. After a relatively slow start, a new report indicates consumer interest in the device is ramping up just in time for the holidays.
The launch of the device this past April was possibly the most maligned and glitch-laden introduction of a new Apple product ever. For the first time, consumers could only purchase a new Apple product online, and not in Apple's iconic retail stores. Dedicated Apple fans who stayed awake for the late night Internet launch of the Apple Watch were roundly discouraged when it appeared that all of the most popular and coveted models were unavailable just minutes after the sale went live, with wait times of up to several months to receive the device imposed on even those who showed up right at the prescribed launch hour.
When the device finally hit the street, reviews were mixed, and many owners complained about the lack of optimized apps available for the product. Apple remained coy on sales figures, indicating that the much-hyped new product category was potentially a bust.
Now, FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives has indicated that the Apple Watch is seeing "signs of life."
"We have slowly seen momentum in the field over the last few months," Ives told clients in a note released on Black Friday. "This morning, we heard of ramping interest/sales among consumers based on our conversations at various Apple, Target, and Best Buy stores."
In fact, Target, which offered Apple Watch purchasers a $100 gift card, has already announced that in store sales for the smartwatch were very strong. Ives predicted that total sales for the device in Q4 2015 should now be between 5 and 6 million.
That's just a small percentage of the 75 million plus iPhones expected to be sold in the same time frame, but Ives says the Apple Watch is an important component of Apple's overall strategy and future.
"The wearables category is an important area for Apple going forward, and [Apple Watch] sales are being closely watched into the holiday season as a barometer for future growth/product areas," he noted.