Is it any wonder that the nation’s political system is in a shambles. With so much fake news floating around, who can you believe? Who can you trust? None of the countries major media and news services are trustworthy, and the fringe elements are worse.
Without delving into the politics of the situation, here’s a perfect example of how fake news starts and spreads. This one involves Apple Watch. Everyone knows that anything Apple does is bad for the company, and much of what has happened in the last year or two is only downhill momentum.
News Is Not Fake
A recent media survey says about three out of every four Americans can no longer tell the difference between real news and fake news. I believe that because of headlines I read that I know are false, and friends, family, co-workers, and others ask me questions about this or that– falsehoods– because they don’t know for sure.
Guess what? Apple Watch sales dropped 71-percent in the third quarter, the largest drop ever. Wait! What? I just read that Apple CEO Tim Cook said Watch in the holiday quarter was selling at the best rate ever.
Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year. Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch.
Use Google as a verb and search for ‘IDC Apple Watch‘ and you’ll be treated to a few dozen headlines which state as a fact that Apple Watch shipments declined 71-percent. The gist is this. Watch is in a slump, while Fitbit, Xiaomi, and Garmin all beat Apple’s newcomer, which is either, 1) highly touted and much loved, or, 2) a complete disaster for Apple. It can’t be both, so which is it?
The negative news came from a research company called IDC which makes guesses about technology industry products and sales. Guesses. Guesstimates. IDC is a guesstimate company with a poor track record for guessing anything with accuracy.
Apple’s decision to launch its second-generation watches in mid-September, towards the end of the quarter, did contribute to its year-over-year decline in 3Q16. However, the primary reasons for the downturn were an aging lineup and an unintuitive user interface. Though both issues have been addressed with the latest generation watches, Apple’s success will likely be muted as the smartwatch category continues to be challenged.
Why? Smartwatches cost more money than simple fitness or exercise trackers, and are more complicated to set up and use, so guess which of the two sells in greater numbers? Sales of all Apple products tend to decline in the few months leading up to an expected new product launch and that was the case with the new Apple Watch models and watchOS 3.x. So, yes, it’s likely that Watch sales slowed before the new models were introduced– it does exactly that with every other highly anticipated Apple product– so IDCs fake news is fake only in number. It’s a guesstimate. A guess. It’s likely that suppositories and lubricants were used to determine the number (with a few phone calls to suppliers and sellers who always tell the truth about Apple products </sarcasm>).
Only Apple knows how many Watches were sold, so anything that says anything else is not factual, therefore, not true, therefore, fake news. Yet, hundreds of websites and news organizations picked up the fake news and ran with it as if it were true. That explains why a dozen people I know asked how much longer Apple would sell Watch because it was such a failure because that’s what they heard on the news.
Let’s do this again. Watch is not a failure. Watch, according to Apple, makes more money than all other watchmakers– smart or traditional– except Rolex. The latest Watch version is the best ever and, according to Cook, selling like it. Next year it will be better, and in a few years it will be a standalone device with even more iPhone-like functionality and features. Most conservative estimates on Watch sales indicate that Watch revenue the past year was equal to Apple’s entire annual revenue in 2001, the year the iPod launched.
Anything that tells you otherwise is fake news. Don’t fall for the sensationalism; scratch the surface a bit, ask questions, consider sources (most industry statistics are estimates), and recognize that fake news sells better than real news and it’s much easier to create.