iWatch Won’t Ship Until 2015. Or Maybe It Will.

official-apple-logo-pngThe guy who pegged September 9 as the date for the new Apple product roll-out (and how sad is it that that qualifies as a scoop?) is now saying that the iWatch (or whatever it’s called) will be shown then but won’t ship until 2015.

Let’s say it’s true. The thing is: it doesn’t really matter.

It doesn’t matter to Apple, surely. No wearable is going to make a significant impact on its profitability any time soon, and certainly not in 2014. It’s way more important that the new iPhone ships on time; a wearable can wait.

It matters to Motorola, LG, and Google, and maybe Pebble. They’ll have a few more months of open field. Maybe.

It matters to the rest of the industry because they’ll all be going out to CES in January without a piece of hardware in their hands that they can deconstruct and mimic. And if people know what to expect in an iWatch that they can’t get their hands on, they might sit on their wallets

It doesn’t matter to consumers. Other than the iWatch, the only significant development that any one is expecting in the fourth quarter is the first wave of Android Wear devices. (See the earlier reference to Moto, LG, and Google.)

A delay wouldn’t reflect all that well on Tim Cook, heretofore a master of the supply chain. But the last time Apple had a long gap between an announcement and a product was the original iPhone, which didn’t ship for six months after the initial jury-rigged demo. We got ours a few days after they shipped, and we were playing with it in the audience of Broadway theater during intermission. A very attractive blonde came over and made cooing noises at us, angling for a look at the phone. In many years of tech coverage, that was a first. Apple knows how to manage expectations.

Apple is masterful at playing the PR game. Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac has a terrific close-up look at how brilliantly Apple handles the press; you’ll recognize every step of the game. The fact that you care enough about what Apple’s doing with wearables that you’ve read this far into this article only shows how accurate Gurman’s picture is.

Will we see an Apple wearable on September 9? Will we be able to buy one then — or even order one? We don’t know. We suspect that only a dozen or so people really know for sure, and even they might change their minds between now and then. And, September 9 or not, it ultimately doesn’t matter. If it’s a great product, no one will care if it’s later than earlier rumors had said. And if it isn’t great, well, no one will care then, either.

 

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