Apple CEO Tim Cook fielded questions during a tour of New York Stock Exchange with his nephew on Wednesday, and he provided a non-answer around the initial success of AirPods.
Asked by a CNBC reporter of the early response towards the product, and how they were unavailable in most places around New York, Cook called AirPods “a runaway success” and added that Apple is “making them just as fast as we can” to refill stocks and meet demand from holiday buyers.
NEW: Apple CEO Tim Cook tells CNBC that "it's been a great holiday" and the company's new Airpod headphones "are a run away success" pic.twitter.com/lDo0Fdw7ym— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) December 28, 2016
If you go by Apple’s own website, that seems to hold true. Anyone who ordered a pair of AirPods a day after their launch would have to wait six weeks for them to ship, and that still seems to be the case. Store pickups are no better, with no available date in sight until mid-February around the US.
Unfortunately, that hardly tell us anything. The availability of a product depends not just on how many people are buying one, but more so on how many a company can manufacture ahead of release, and keep up the production in response to the buzz around it. Cook’s comments on the success of the AirPods hardly contribute to what we could glean ourselves, and a generic statement such as his is something you expect an executive to make after the launch of any product.
There are no concrete numbers to back up his “runaway success” claim, and knowing Apple – which puts everything from the iPod and Apple Watch to the Apple TV and Beats headphones in one category called “Other Products” – it seems AirPods will be included there as well. That makes it hard to decipher which product contributed more or less compared to the previous quarter's earnings, and as a result it becomes highly unlikely we’ll ever get any proper numbers on that front.
Doing so allows Apple to try out products, such as Apple Watch, that aren’t as big a draw as the iPhone and Mac lineup, while noting to investors that the same products don’t matter heavily in Apple’s global success. To note, “Other Products” only accounted for 5 percent of the company’s revenue in the latest reported quarter.
If the company does decide to release numbers in the future, that will only be when AirPods hit a worthy milestone. Without that, it’s down to market analysis and research firms.