Apple’s wearables business is huge, if you buy Apple’s fudged definition of wearables

He’s literally wearing them.
He’s literally wearing them.
Image: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
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Apple’s first wearable device, the Apple Watch, went on sale two years ago, but the company has never announced any sales figures for the device. There have been estimates, but the only real way to glean how much revenue Apple is generating from the watch is to look at its “Other products” business line. That’s the bucket Apple puts the watch, and other smaller products, like the iPod, headphones, and accessories.

On today’s earnings call, Cook told investors that Apple’s wearable technology business is comparable to the size of a Fortune 500 company, which would seem to imply that the Apple Watch is thriving, giving that it’s the only real wearable Apple product. As Axios points out, the smallest business on Fortune’s most recent 500 list had revenue of $5.1 billion.

But Cook said that comparison also includes Apple’s AirPods and its Beats headphones. Though you might be able to stretch the definition of “wearables to cover AirPods— they have processing power greater than a first-generation iPhone, and you can interact with Siri through them—it’s difficult to see how regular Beats headphones could really could be counted as a wearable computer of some sort, other than the fact that you literally have to wear them on your head to use them. By that logic, I tend to put my iPhone in my pocket when I’m out; does that mean it’s also a wearable?