Week in Tech: Apple Watch sales mystery is hurting the company

OPINION: Our US-based reporter Chris Smith gives his two penneth worth on Apple’s refusal to reveal Apple Watch sales, the unsettling Ashley Madison situation and Google Maps new My Timeline feature. Also, why sports will ensure live TV will never die.

Apple Watch sales mystery is baffling, but analysts know nothing
It’s official… we still don’t know how many Apple Watches have officially been sold. The company’s earnings call came and went this week without any concrete numbers, with Apple citing competitive reasons for the clandestine strategy.

Apple said the Watch is exceeding expectations and performed more impressively than the iPad or the iPhone during their respective first 9 weeks on sale. It even hinted “well over” a billion dollars in the revenue in the ‘other’ category (which features iPod and Apple TV) was contributed by the new wearable.

But no sales figures.

Related: Apple Watch 2 release date
Apple Watch

“That was not a matter of not being transparent,” Tim Cook said. “That was a matter of not giving our competition insight into a product we worked very hard on.”

I’m struggling to make sense of that statement. How is it different to the company announcing iPhone, iPad and Mac sales? Didn’t it work very hard on those too? If the Apple Watch did incredibly well, what insight would it offer the likes of Samsung, other than compound rivals’ abject failures in the sector thus far?

Although some of these analysts suggested more than four million Apple Watches are already adorning the wrists of the firm’s adoring public, other companies’ matchbox mathematics have it as low as two million. Forbes rounded up before and after estimates from the top firms and found an average of 3.7 million before vs 2.53 million after.

See also: Apple Watch tips and tricks

Apple Watch

Naturally, Apple’s desire to keep actual sales figures a secret has fed existing speculation the wearable is not living up to the guesswork from these parasitic companies who’s job it is to counsel investors.

With the highest estimate more than 100 per cent greater than the lowest, all this proves us is analysts don’t know their A-holes from the elbows. But, partly as a result of these estimates and Apple’s lack of transparency AAPL stock tanked and knocked $66 billion off its market cap, despite yet another strong quarter.

Even if the lowest of those estimates proves correct, any reasonably-minded observer would suggest that would be a pretty solid return from Apple given the expense of the device, the stock shortages and the newness of the sector.

So why wouldn’t Apple be upfront about it? Put an end to the speculation. Get out in front of it and put the case forward.

Ashley Madison hack gives a whole new meaning to unprotected sex
There’s not a lot to be said about the Ashley Madison hack that hasn’t already been said. And, to be honest, even thinking about it makes me feel like I need a shower, let alone writing about it.

However, all sweeping judgements aside, I guess I’m just struggling to wrap my head around the stupidity it takes to give your real name, credit card details and home address to an internet company that exists purely to propagate deceit, betrayal, treachery, disloyalty – or whatever else you want to call it.

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Netflix hints, tips, secrets and hacks
Ashley Madison
I know we all, as web users, are often guilty of being somewhat too trusting with our personal data, but this really takes the biscuit. There’s no real way of rationalising what must go through someone’s head if they believe they can trust a company that overtly specialises in betraying trust.

Indeed, this is one of those rare stories where it’s practically impossible to root for any of the parties directly involved; the hacked, the hackers or the account holders who’re in a perpetual state of soiled drawers right about now. If it were a movie, it’d be The Wolf of Wall Street. Nobody has any scruples, none of the characters come out of it looking good and the viewer feels a little unclean and guilty by association for just watching the train wreck unfold.

The internet and fidelity aren’t a very good mix. Whether it’s reconnecting with old flames through Facebook, extra curricular dating sites, serendipitous Snapchat exchanges or whatever; the digital footprints left mean it rarely results in a happy ending (well, at least in the conventional sense).

That baffles me because there are plenty of online avenues for exploring sexual fantasy without the risk of destroying your family. Seriously, why don’t these folks just do what everyone else does?
 
I’ll keep My Timeline in my head thanks, Google
So, in case it wasn’t obvious to any remotely savvy user, Google Maps has been tracking you everywhere you go. Step…by step… by step. Fret not though, now it actually wants you to enjoy that data too, by rolling it out as a consumer feature called My Timeline. Isn’t that nice?

The new tool, which all users have switched on by default, will be seen as quirky and useful to some folks, but for others it’ll surely seem a tad creepy and a little disconcerting. Put me in the latter category.

Can you imagine if the government said; “Hey we’ve been tracking you everywhere you go, but here you go, you can look too!”

See also: Google I/O 2015: Everything that happened
Maps
How can we have a leg to stand on when it comes to campaigning for privacy from government snooping when we willingly hand over our entire history to a company like Google, just because it’s kind of cool to look at the zigzag patterns on a Map?

How can we possibly moan about the Orwellian snooping society when we’re constantly handing over our location to any number of web services and social networks?

Viva live sports
Televised sport is unique as it remains the last bastion of must-see-live content. So long as there are live sports people will want to watch them live. Not on demand, not the next day and certainly not interrupted by stream buffering. It’s not like Game of Thrones or Mad Men, whereby it’s possible – although difficult – to avoid spoilers if you stay off social media. There’s no chance with live sports unless you go completely dark.

Like news, if the game has been played its fair game to be talked about. Remember as a kid trying to get to Match of the Day without finding out the scores? It just never happened, and this was ten years before everyone had the bloody internet, let alone Twitter.

Mashable infuriated me with a headline that popped up in my RSS Feed: “The Undertaker returns to WWE to bury Brock Lesnar.”
WWE Network
God damn it! I was about two hours away from finishing work and getting to watch it for myself and now the biggest surprise of the year had been ruined. I’d avoided social media all day, ignored texts from friends who I figured would mention it and was simply taking care of my work by checking up on tech sites.

WWE bridges that gap between sports and entertainment. So, while sites are generally respectful and spoiler free for the hit TV dramas, sports are fair game.

All I could think to myself was… “Should have watched it live.”