The iPod Effect Hits Apple Watch


One of Apple’s most endearing products of the 21st century is the iPod. Yes, today it’s the iPhone, but Apple moved itself outside of the Mac’s shadow with iPod.

Critics scoffed and howled at the overpriced, Mac-only, music player; but over the first two years after iPod was introduced, a strange phenomenon began to occur. Thanks to the distinctive bright white earbuds and cable, we began to see iPods all over the place. That’s when we knew Apple had a hit product. The so-called iPod effect is here again.

Look! Another Watch!

Apple does not tell anyone how many Watch units are sold each year the way it did the iPod back in the early days, back before the Mac went Intel Inside, before iPhone and iPad redefined mobile devices.

Why doesn’t Apple release Watch numbers? All comparative estimates say the number must be 20-to-30-million Watch units by now, so why not brag a little? The problem has to do with the iPhone, which sells in numbers that no such technology product in history has sold, so anything Apple sells by comparison is lame.

Critics say Watch is a failure yet it sells probably 10 times what Amazon Echo sells and that is a tech industry favorite. Methinks a double standard is applied to Apple products.

Regardless, the iPod effect is more visible than ever. Look around. What do you see? More Apple Watches. The size, shape, and the watchbands are as distinctive (though not always as visible) as the bright white earbuds and cables that came with every iPod.

The narrative among technology journalists was simple. Apple Watch is a flop. Except that was exactly the negative noise we heard with iPod, iTunes Music Store (both were Mac only when launched), and the iPhone. What happened?

Day by day we began to see more iPods in the real world with real people using them. When iPod could work with iTunes on Windows PCs, the sale skyrocketed. Hundreds of millions of people began to love how the iPod made managing music easier to the point of fun. Even the Mac’s sales improved thanks to the iPod halo effect whereby Windows users– who flocked to the Apple Stores to get their iPod fixes each year– switched to Macs in record numbers.

The iPhone came along and was a hit among both Mac and Windows PC users, and just like the iPod, we began to see the iPhone in the wild being used by Joe and Josephine Average, Timmy Techie, and Eddie the Executive, who made sure the company IT group could handle iPhones in the enterprise.

Well, guess what?

Watch is just such a hit and sales continue to grow as Apple advances the state of the art. No other Swiss watch band is bigger than Watch. Rolex, maybe. We need new numbers and Rolex isn’t talking.

The proof of success, as they say, is in the taste of the pudding. For iPod it was a growing trend of usage exemplified by the bright white earbuds and cables. For Watch, the success is just as visual. You see Watch on everyone from children to senior citizens, from techies and students, from your neighbor to those who work in retail.


Watch embodies Apple’s iconic usability and design. It’s good for alerts, alarms, notifications, as well as making and receiving calls and texts and email without having to fish around inside a pocket, backpack, or bag for the iPhone. Sure, Watch is little more than a very cleverly designed iPhone accessory, but remember, iPod became a hit when it could run on Windows and music could be bought on iTunes Windows.

How long before Watch becomes a full standalone product that doesn’t need an iPhone to set up? How long before Watch and a special watchband can track blood sugar in real time? At that point Watch could begin the march toward iPhone-like sales. And maybe Apple will tell us how many are sold.

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