NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Though the odds are likely stacked against my skepticism, I'm not convinced Apple (AAPL) plans to sell a smartwatch. There's something unsettling about the world's greatest company jumping into a market manufactured by a consensus of less-than tech companies.
Consumers haven't necessarily said we demand more wearable devices. And I don't think they qualify as products people don't know they want until Apple tells them so. Rather they're an attempt by tech companies to create a frenzy that might never take. All we can do is bandy about the rumors and wait and see how things shake out.
But here's the cool thing about the questionable prospects of the wearable market from what should be the perspective of Apple fanboys and investors: It doesn't matter. The fate of an Apple smartwatch will have very little impact on Apple's near- or even long-term prospects.
If I'm wrong and an iWatch (or smartband) happens to sell well -- like five million units out of the gate -- that's icing on Apple's cake. Just icing because there's no way this thing sniffs iPad, let alone iPhone sales numbers. Some would classify mere cake icing as a failure. But I wouldn't. I would just call it a product I wasn't all that jazzed about acting as a periphery to Apple's core and -- hopefully -- boosting or helping Tim Cook maintain healthy margins.
If I'm right ... an Apple iWatch either fails or never materializes.
A failure will prompt knee-jerk criticism of Apple. It won't be like the failure of Ping or the recent stagnation of Apple's digital music strategy. Everybody brushed those things off as Apple software and services miscues. Targets of outrage and snark, but ultimately acceptable like Siri and Apple Maps. However, on an iWatch miss, alarm bells will go off because, on the heels of iPod, iPhone, iPad (and Apple TV), Apple will have experienced a hardware failure. Self-vindicated critics will hammer Tim Cook as not being able to extend Apple's greatness post-Steve Jobs.
But the critics will be wrong. Because the material outcome of an iWatch failure isn't different at all from what will happen if an iWatch -- or some sort of wearable from Apple -- never even happens in the first place. $1,000 for AAPL remains in the cards. It doesn't depend on iWatch being the next big thing or even being a thing.