Dec 15

Distorting Apple news, Wall Street-style

watch-loveFollowing the first shopping weekend of the holiday season, the news for Apple was refreshingly positive.

One could even say it was surprisingly positive, given the negativity preceding about downward trending iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch sales.

The new news was that Apple was off to a record-breaking start. Not only was Apple Watch a hot item, but even the lowly iPad was showing new life.

But wait! Surely there is some gloom hiding in there somewhere.

Yesterday, I awoke to see a Fortune article by Philip Elmer-Dewitt with the click-bait-ish headline Top 12 Reasons People Gave Up On The Apple Watch. Ominous! Except that once you understand the nature of the study, it’s not ominous at all.

Elmer-Dewitt is talking about a new survey from Internet research firm Wristly. Having previously reported 97% Apple Watch satisfaction ratings, their new survey is “the first formal survey of dissatisfied customers.”

In other words, this survey focused solely on that 3% sliver of unhappy Apple Watch buyers. The purpose of the survey was simply to shed light on why the unhappy customers were unhappy. (It ignores why 97% of the customers were happy.)

Wristly’s survey also showed that the dissatisfied have a funny way of being dissatisfied. 30% said that they still wear their Apple Watch and 41% said they’d consider buying the next version. Yet Fortune ran this story under the headline, “top reasons people gave up on the Apple Watch.”

It wasn’t until the end of the day that I noticed the AAPL stock price had dropped .81%. That struck me as odd, after reading all the positive news about Apple’s big holiday weekend. Then I saw a headline from a story on theStreet.com: Here’s Why Apple Stock Is Losing Momentum Today.

Yep. It’s that pesky little Wristly survey again. The article begins, “Apple … shares are falling … on Tuesday after a new weekly survey … showed that customers were not satisfied with the Apple Watch, Fortune reports.”

Good grief. That’s not what Fortune reported. And that’s not what Wristly reported. It’s a blatant distortion of the facts.

To make its case, the article omits that pesky little detail about this being a survey of dissatisfied customers. Even worse, it concludes, “Overall, the new survey showed that around 86% of the respondents saw no value in the tech giant’s product.” Having now scoured the actual findings several times, I can’t even find such a number in there. It’s purely imaginary.

The nature of Wristly’s actual findings led to headlines that, even though accurate, sounded negative to the casual reader. Like ZDNet’s What unhappy Apple Watch owners think: Limited, poor battery, lacks value.

However, Wall Street analysts aren’t casual readers. At least they shouldn’t be. While seeing negativity in the Wristly report, they totally ignored the more numerous positive reports that appeared the very same day. Such as:

Apple Sales Predicted To Surge This Holiday Season (The Motley Fool)
Black Friday sales data point to ‘Apple holiday season’ (Investors.com)
Apple Watch Sales To Reach 12 Million Devices By End Of Year (Forbes.com)

It isn’t often that we can attach a real number to describe analysts’ inability to understand Apple. So let us at least relish this one opportunity.

By focusing on the 3% instead of the 97%, Wall Street only misjudged the Apple Watch story yesterday by 94%.

That’s the holiday spirit!



  • jamesdbailey

    Now waiting for the story about how Wall Street is misinterpreting Apple news and how that shows that Apple is doomed.

  • AAPL.To.Break.$130.Soon>:-)

    Why doesn’t Wristly do a dissatisfaction report on some other smartwatches besides AppleWatch and then at least we can get some objectivity by comparison. I get it. AppleWatch is not the be all and end all of devices. Apple wasn’t able to sell 30 million AppleWatches like some analyst said they should. Everyone doesn’t want an AppleWatch. Did Apple say everyone would want an AppleWatch. I’m sure plenty of companies put out products that aren’t an instant success and Apple is no exception, so why are Apple products always being singled out as being failures. There must be plenty of failed products made by other companies. Why no in-depth reports about Amazon’s $50 tablet. Does everyone love it? Is it a raging success. Was the Amazon Fire Phone a huge success? Who knows? It was barely talked about before it disappeared, came back and then disappeared. Of course, Jeff Bezos can do no wrong, so nothing is ever said against him or his company.

  • jbelkin

    yea, idiots. guess they can’t explain why other watch sales are off by 12%

  • GS

    I’m not sure AAPL doesn’t track pretty closely with the general market ups and downs. These Wall Street sites cite Apple so much as that is where the clicks are, and the negative angle gets the most clicks.

  • talkRAYdio

    “The latest data from market research firm IDC estimates Apple Watch sales totaled 3.9 million worldwide in the third quarter of 2015, making it the second most popular wearable device behind Fitbit fitness trackers during the three-month period ending September 30. ”


  • hannahjs

    it isn’t so much that Wall Street doesn’t understand Apple, but that they are stricken with a kind of tunnel vision. For them, facts are all well and good, but it’s click bait headlines and rumours that galvanise the markets they’re playing in.

  • macguy59

    It’s blatantly obvious to me. The media (and liberals in general) have decided Apple is the bad guy (working conditions overseas, tax avoidance, etc) and want desperately to take them down.

  • citycima