Biz Break: Apple Watch sales taper off, according to IDC

Top Of The Order: 

Watches? What Watches?: When it comes to the Apple Watch, you have to take it on faith when Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook says things like sales of the wristband/timepiece/app thingy are going well.

After all, Apple doesn’t yet disclose actual sales figures of the Apple Watch. The company lumps the gadget into a group of “Other Products” such as Apple TV, iPods, Beats items and various accessories for the purposes of reporting quarterly results. When Apple delivered its fiscal second-quarter results, in April, that grab bag of goodies accounted for $2.2 billion in sales, up 30 percent from a year ago.

How much of that is the Apple Watch is anyone’s guess. And tech research firm IDC is guessing 1.5 million Apple Watches were sold during the first quarter of the year, from January until March. Now, 1.5 million Apple Watches sold is nothing to sneeze at, especially as the market for such wearables really is in its early stages. But IDC, based on its research estimates, figures that Apple sold 4.1 million Apple Watches during the fourth quarter of 2015. That would mean that Apple Watch sales fell 63 percent in just one sequential quarter.

Now, granted…When it comes to measuring sales of anything, year-over-year numbers are typically the yardstick used. But the Apple Watch wasn’t on sale during the first quarter of 2015. And keep in mind that the last quarter of every year is always huge for Apple due to Christmas and holiday shopping that often goes to excess.

But if IDC’s numbers are to be believed, and Apple often cites IDC figures when it gives company presentations, then…Uh, wow…a 63 percent drop is hard to ignore, no matter what it’s being compared with.

On the plus side, in less than a year on the market, the Apple Watch has cemented a place for itself among wearables that have been available for much longer. IDC put Apple in third place among all wearable vendors, with the company trailing only Fitbit (4.8 million first-quarter shipments) and Xiaomi (3.7 million shipments). And when it comes to pure smartwatch vendors, IDC gave the first-quarter crown to Apple, and estimates it outsold the next four vendors — Samsung, Motorola, Huawei and Garmin — combined.

You can bet that at the next Apple Watch event, Tim Cook will bring that “victory” up, even if he doesn’t have any Apple Watch figures of his own to show off.

Middle Innings:

Meanwhile, In India…: While we’re on the subject of Tim Cook, the Apple boss heads to India on Wednesday for the first time. Apple is trying to crack into the Indian smartphone market, and its goldmine of more than a billion potential new mobile phone sales. Apple has explored trying to sell refurbished iPhones in India, but has met stiff resistance from the Indian government as it tries to promote homegrown mobile-phone makers.

If They Only Could Have Printed iPods: That’s a little joke on the old arrangement that Carly Fiorina made with Steve Jobs more than a decade ago in which, for a brief time, HP became a reseller of Apple’s landmark digital music player. See, printing was for years called the “Crown Jewel” of HP, and for many years, was the tech giant’s most profitable division.

On Tuesday, HP joined the 3D-printing revolution. The company rolled out two new 3D printers aimed at the high-end business market. They’d better be. At a cost of $130,000 and $155,000, respectively, the average person isn’t going to be buying one of HP’s 3D printing machines just so their kid can create an awesome school project the night before it’s due.

No, the HP machines are meant for large-scale manufacturing. Several companies, including BMW, Johnson & Johnson and Nike are testing out the devices. Hey, maybe if the HP 3D printers take off, your next pair of Air Jordans will be made in Beaverton, Oregon (Nike’s headquarters) as opposed to a sweatshop somewhere in Asia?

Insert Your Joke Here: Remember that deal that Netflix has to produce movies with Adam Sandler? What? You mean you haven’t seen “The Ridiculous 6” yet? What have you been doing? Binging on HBO’s “Game of Thrones”?

Well, you don’t have to wait much longer. Sandler’s next Netflix feature, “The Do-Over,” is set to premiere May 27. Sandler and co-stars Catherine Bell, Paula Patton and David Spade were out promoting “The Do-Over” at a theater in Los Angeles late Monday. Director Steven Brill said the movie shows Sandler “at his best.”

Maybe Brill hasn’t seen “The Ridiculous 6” either. Or, maybe he has?

Bottom Of The Lineup: 

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Tuesday…

Movin’ On Up: Pandora Media shares climbed more than 6 percent to close at $10.59 after Corvex Management disclosed it has acquired almost 10 percent of the Oakland-based Internet radio company and wants it to consider selling itself. Gains also came from Nimble Storage, Agilent Technologies, Depomed and Invensense.

In The Red: Lending Club fell 8.6 percent after the online loan marketplace said it is the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. Other decliners included Oclaro, Harmonic, Applied Micro Circuits and Ultra Clean Holdings.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.3 percent to 4,715.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 1 percent to end the day at 17,529.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index shed 1 percent to finish at 2,047.

Quote Of The Day: “Obviously, it’s not a good feeling losing Game 1. Especially at home.” — Golden State Warriors guard and NBA MVP Steph Curry after the Warriors lost the first game of the NBA Western Conference Finals Monday night. It was the first time in two years that the Warriors have lost the first game of a playoff series.

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Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the Apple Watch at the Flint Center in Cupertino in September 2014.  (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)


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