Pebble Time’s record-breaking Kickstarter is great news for the Apple Watch
On Tuesday Pebble announced its latest smart watch, the Pebble Time. Like the original Pebble smart watch, the Pebble Time will be available to backers on Kick starter before the general public.
The campaign, which is only a few hours old, is already a bonafide success, becoming the fastest Kick starter project to hit $1 million ever. At the time of this writing, Pebble has already raised more than $6.3 million from more than 30,000 backers.
At this rate, it isn’t a question of whether Pebble Time will surpass the $10 million the original Pebble raised on Kickstarter. It’s a question of when.
Clearly, this is great for Pebble. The company needs good word-of-mouth from consumers, and this record-breaking reaction speaks well to its ability to rally the troops and capture mindshare.
But this is also great news for Apple and its forthcoming Apple Watch. In fact, I would argue that the early success of the Pebble Time basically ensures that the Apple Watch will be a hit at laun
Just last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple had ordered between 5 and 6 million devices for the Apple Watch’s launch in April. At the time, that figure seemed ridiculously ambitious.
After all, Pebble has managed to sell 1 million devices in just less than two years and Android Wear (from all manufacturers) has shipped around 800,000 devices in the last 8 months. The idea that Apple could sell nearly 3 times as many of those products — and at launch — seemed a reach.
It’s something we discussed last week during #Mash Talk our weekly Google+ Hangout about tech. That 5 million figure struck a lot of us as risky.
On Sunday, TWiT’s Leo Laporte asked me how many Apple Watch’s the company would sell during its first quarter. I said 2 million.
In retrospect, I think Ben Thompson, also on the panel, got closer. Thompson said he thought Apple would sell every watch it made, so if it makes 5 million, it will sell 5 million. I think he’s right.
Pebble Time proves wearables aren’t over
For the past year, the story around the smart watch — and wearable adoption in general, Fitbit notwithstanding — has been in flux. This was supposed to be a huge, booming industry. Instead, we haven’t had that breakout product. Still, the fact that Pebble — a company much smaller than its competitors — has been able to replicate its first Kickstarter success in just hours, suggests that smart watches really are something customers want.
The problem with wearables hasn’t been that users don’t want them — it’s that they don’t want the ones that are on the market now.
This is where Apple can capitalize. Like Pebble, it’s selling a brand and an experience. And when it comes to selling an experience, no one does it better than Apple.
If Pebble can pre-sell more than 30,000 Pebble Time devices in just a few hours on Kickstarter, there’s no telling what Apple can do with its retail and marketing prowess this April.