The Apple Watch release is around the corner, with the much-awaited product available for pre-order on Friday. It will also show up in Apple stores on Friday, finally allowing consumers to try out the carpal accessory.
And according to one close Apple watcher, Max Wolff of Manhattan Venture Partners, Apple's goal is not to generate a huge amount of sales with its watch, but to fire a shot at its tech competitors.
"It's really a way to push Apple Pay, which is really important, and to push the iPhone 6 Plus, definitely the iPhone 6. And it's just another reason to be in this ecosystem, right? Because this is a war. This is basically four companies now that want to control everything a consumer does online—Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft," Wolff said.
"Right now in the smartphone business, it's a duopoly. It's two companies that run this world—Apple and Google. And anything they can do to make you do more Apple, less Google—that's Apple Pay or the Watch or the great free publicity or the iPad or whatever—'Stay in my ecosystem. Stay away from theirs' is the ultimate prize, and the Watch is helping already just because, hey, look, we're talking about it."
And there's a valuable prize for producing the world's most highly anticipated smartwatch to date.
"They are going to be dominant in the smartwatch field. They're going to get out in front of everyone else, and they're going to have another lucrative way to enclose people in their ecosystem."
Gene Munster, who covers Apple for Piper Jaffray, predicts in a recent note that Apple will accept 300,000 pre-orders in the first 24 hours of sales, and sell a million watches in the first weekend.
While Munster doesn't think the Watch will be a powerful driver of 2015 (calendar-year) revenue, the analyst predicts that Apple will sell 40 to 50 million watches in 2017, which would represent 10 percent of 2017 revenue.
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