Horace Dediu: What Apple Watch (and AirPods) have wrought (chart)

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They already generate nearly twice the revenue iPods ever did, and they’re just getting started.


From Dediu’s “AirPods,” posted Thursday on Asymco.com:

The Apple Watch is now bigger than the iPod ever was. As the most popular watch of all time, it’s clear that the watch is a new market success story. However it isn’t a cultural success. It has the ability to signal its presence and to give the wearer a degree of individuality through material and band choice but it is too discreet. It conforms to norms of watch wearing and it is too easy to miss under a sleeve or in a pocket.

Not so for AirPods. These things look extremely different. Always white, always in view, pointed and sharp. You can’t miss someone wearing AirPods. They practically scream their presence.

For this reason wearers, whether they want to or not, advertise the product loudly. Initially, when new, they looked strange, even goofy. But the product’s value to the wearer overcame any embarrassment and for those courageous enough to wear them, they became a point of pride. As all things distinctive enough, the distinction rubs on the user and that distinction begets new users and new distinction, and so on. So now we have a bona fide cultural phenomenon… (see below)

The product is part of the “wearables” category at Apple which includes watch and is growing almost 50%/yr. and not from a small base either. The following graph show the history of the segment since 2009 (before the iPod peaked).

Dediu wearables

Click to enlarge.

My take: A bona fide cultural phenomenon among jet-setters, perhaps. In Greenfield, MA (pop. 17,000), where I’ve only seen one other guy wear them, AirPods still look goofy and strange.