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Apple Watch verdict a year later: Half of those surveyed think it's a dud

Apple Watch owners, though, think it's a success.

More than half of those surveyed by the advertising technology company Fluent said they considered the Apple Watch a flop.

That sentiment — expressed by the majority of the 2,578 adults in the U.S. who responded last week to an online survey — reflects how the device is perceived by the tech press and industry insiders, many of whom have been pessimistic about the Apple Watch from the start. Asked whether they considered the Watch a successful product for Apple, 53 percent responded "no."

But Fluent’s survey also offers a more nuanced picture of Apple’s first wearable device, which launched on April 24, 2015. A significant majority of Apple Watch owners — 77 percent — consider the smartwatch a success and about two-thirds said they plan to upgrade when the next version comes out.

Those owners surveyed said they take advantage of a range of the smartwatch’s features, including monitoring their activity and receiving notifications (79 percent), listening to music (75 percent) and checking email or chat (66 percent).

"We are seeing folks are using it for all of the features that it has," says Fluent chief marketing officer Jordan Cohen, who published the survey’s results.

Apple Watch owners say the convenience of getting a calendar reminder in a glance or a quick text notification, without the need of reaching for the iPhone, is the top reason to buy Apple Watch.

Fashion and affordability were, predictably, low on the list (even those who own an Apple Watch consider it expensive). Apple realizes this, too: it just dropped the price on its entry-level "Sport" line.

This survey supports the more comprehensive findings of Wristly’s "Pulse on Wristware," released earlier this year. The research group, which surveys some 2,500 smartwatch and fitness band owners every week, says that despite some views of the Apple Watch as a "mediocre novelty," it enjoys "astoundingly high customer satisfaction ratings."

Some 92 percent of consumers were satisfied to downright effusive about the device — and appear to be recommending it to their friends, Wristly found. This positive word of mouth is helping fuel Apple Watch sales, likely at the expense of mid-range Swiss timepieces.

So, how many Apple Watches have been sold in the first year? Don’t ask Apple — they’re not talking. Research firm IDC estimates Apple shipped some 11.6 million of the devices in 2015. That’s well shy of some heady Wall Street projections, but almost twice the number of iPhones that Apple sold in its first year.

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