Initial Apple Watch stock dries up in minutes, shipping times quickly jump to 4-6 weeks

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited June 2015
Consumers who weren't ready to to order at exactly 12:01 a.m. Pacific time on Friday have missed their opportunity to receive an Apple Watch on launch day, as every model is now unavailable until at least mid-May.




Apple Watch Sport was the first to go, with delivery times slipping to "4-6 Weeks" less than 5 minutes after pre-orders opened in some locations. Stainless steel models quickly followed, though some of the more expensive versions remained available for launch day delivery for over an hour.

Edition models skipped the 4-6 week window entirely, dropping directly to June, where nearly all models now stand.

Apple warned of supply constraints earlier this week, choosing to take pre-orders exclusively online to cope with expected demand. Many consumers appear to have followed the company's advice to stay home, leaving relatively quiet scenes at Apple retail stores around the world.

"We are excited to welcome customers tomorrow and introduce them to Apple Watch, our most personal device yet," Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts said. "Based on the tremendous interest from people visiting our stores, as well as the number of customers who have gone to the Apple Online Store to mark their favorite Apple Watch ahead of availability, we expect that strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch."
Even the finely-tuned iPhone supply chain struggles to meet demand when new models are launched.
While some believe that Apple is purposefully withholding Apple Watch stock to drive an increase in perceived demand, that remains an unlikely possibility.

The Watch is an extraordinarily small and complex device, using many components that have never made their way into a shipping Apple product before. Sources told AppleInsider last month that Apple faced production issues with the wrist-worn device "at every stage of the development."

Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously discussed his displeasure with the fact that Apple is required to schedule major media events --?like the Watch unveiling --?months in advance, as it needs to coordinate the availability of venues larger than its on-campus auditorium. This situation prompted the addition of a larger facility to the company's new spaceship campus, and could have been a tip that Apple would have preferred to push the Watch debut back, but could not for logistical reasons.

Lending credence to word of supply constraints, Apple also shipped apparently buggy versions to advance reviewers, promising that new software would address many of their issues before consumers receive the devices, an extraordinarily unusual move for the company.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 362
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,472member

    Countdown to the spin articles...the true measure will be to see just how many we see out in public over the next few months.

     

    According the the Apple website, delivery is now into June.

  • Reply 2 of 362
    I hope they'll fix it. The original iPhone software Wasn't perfect either, but hopefully Apple will get it ironed out before all these people think, "What did I order?"
  • Reply 3 of 362

    Got our order in right after sales went live. Ordered a couple of sport bands along with our steel banded watches, but it looks like those will not arrive until after the Watch.

     

    Blue and Black: 2-4 weeks

    White: May

     

    Hopefully they step up the production on the sport bands.

  • Reply 4 of 362
    Here is an odd thing. When I placed my order via my iPhone using my standard Apple ID, the Apple Store App, and Apple Pay, the receipt was sent to my work email address and included my work phone number in the receipt. That email address and phone number are not linked to my Apple ID or Apple Pay at all. I have triple checked my account and my personal information is stored in Apple's systems. How could that have switched?
  • Reply 5 of 362
    waterrocketswaterrockets Posts: 1,231member

    Impressive. I guess it's tough to know how much initial stock they had on hand.

     

    Out of curiosity, any shoppers know if all combinations are showing the same delay?

  • Reply 6 of 362
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,918member
    "No lines = doom!" - clueless analysts
  • Reply 7 of 362
    I was one of the people hitting refresh starting five minutes before launch. I also had the watch that I wanted saved as a favorite. With all of this preparation, my ship date for the 42mm space black stainless steel watch is in June. The process may have taken three minutes and by then the orders were back logged!

    I do remember that the same thing happened with my 6+ and I got that on time so there is hope. Perhaps Apple is making us swallow the pill of disappointment first just in case there are going to be delays. Mine ships June but if I get it earlier I am naturally happier than if it is a few days late from the given date.
  • Reply 8 of 362
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    Impressive. I guess it's tough to know how much initial stock they had on hand.

    Out of curiosity, any shoppers know if all combinations are showing the same delay?
    No. People have been reporting different delays on different models.

    They really should have previewed "Apple's most personal product yet" in stores a week before pre-orders went live.

    Judging by these delays, I'm more inclined to believe that Apple has chosen a more build to order model, than massive sales. No doubt the preorders are going to be massive, but I think the inventory is minimal, and they will be assembling to meet demand. Think of it as the actual launch day is the 24th. Supplies will still be just as constrained by then, but by giving themselves a two week head start, they will come much closer to meeting actual demand with much less inventory on hand.
  • Reply 9 of 362
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,741member

    Sport ?Watch preordered moments after the store went live a few minutes late - 4-6 weeks delivery.

  • Reply 10 of 362
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ottobot View Post



    Here is an odd thing. When I placed my order via my iPhone using my standard Apple ID, the Apple Store App, and Apple Pay, the receipt was sent to my work email address and included my work phone number in the receipt. That email address and phone number are not linked to my Apple ID or Apple Pay at all. I have triple checked my account and my personal information is stored in Apple's systems. How could that have switched?

    <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" /> Big Brother at work!  

     

    On a serious note, that is odd.  Have you had a previous order shipped to your office?  That's the only thing I can think of - maybe it somehow pulled your email and phone number off of a prior order.

     

    Glad to see the demand high!  I figured they would all sell out, but am surprised to see how far out the shipping times are for some models.  That's awesome.  Really hope the Watch is successful.

  • Reply 11 of 362
    Instead of relying on the substantial shipping times (which could, as others note, simply indicate production problems or artificially constrained supply), I found it most interesting that the system got bogged down with orders. Given that we know the online store can handle about 4m iPhone units, this suggests there is some serious demand and that sales will be high and only supply constrained for a while. For more, see: http://q10a1.blogspot.com/2015/03/apple-watch-sales-expectations.html
  • Reply 12 of 362
    thomprthompr Posts: 1,516member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post

     

    Sport ?Watch preordered moments after the store went live a few minutes late - 4-6 weeks delivery.


    Same here.

     

    I'm not believing that it was crushing demand that caused the delayed shipping for certain models.  I mean, sure, maybe the demand was very high.  But I know for a fact that the model I purchased started out at 4-6 weeks from the get-go, and it never changed from there.  My interpretation...

     

    Apple either had a hard time ramping up all models for launch day, or as someone else suggested, they are starting out with a build-to-order model because they don't know how many of each SKU to start with until they see the tendencies.

     

    Thompson

  • Reply 13 of 362
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,689member

    I ordered 2 about 7 hours after it went live. Shows delivery in June. I think it possible Apple will use the pre-order data to tweak their supply chain, and the dates will slowly move sooner. I wouldn't be surprised if 4-6 weeks is pretty much the norm. If the wait times stay at 3 months or more...well...there's likely gonna be some splainin' to do.

  • Reply 14 of 362
    thomprthompr Posts: 1,516member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post

     

    <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" /> Big Brother at work!  

     

    On a serious note, that is odd.  Have you had a previous order shipped to your office?  That's the only thing I can think of - maybe it somehow pulled your email and phone number off of a prior order.

     

    Glad to see the demand high!  I figured they would all sell out, but am surprised to see how far out the shipping times are for some models.  That's awesome.  Really hope the Watch is successful.


    The shipping times didn't slip.  They began that far out, based on the experience I had ordering 2 different models (me on our Mac Pro, wife on the laptop) right when the store finally opened.

     

    But the Watch will indeed be successful.  This data point just isn't any proof.

  • Reply 15 of 362



    No, that's the odd thing.  I've never used my work phone number or email address with Apple.  Never.   I still can't figure out how it got associated with the order.  I used my personal phone, personal Apple ID, etc.  I even went back in this morning and triple checked - my billing information on the Apple site has my personal phone and email, yet the order confirmation from Apple included my work phone and email.  I don't get it.

  • Reply 16 of 362
    gerardgerard Posts: 81member
    My space gray sport won't ship until June...
  • Reply 17 of 362
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post



    "No lines = doom!" - clueless analysts

     

    With popular models selling out online in less than 30 minutes, queuing would guarantee missing out on a launch day delivery. For shoppers to stand a chance they'd have to buy online at home, thus the queues weren't ever going to be massive.

     

    Savvy shoppers knew one couldn't pre-order in store; which is something that Apple announced because it realised that demand was too large and anyone who waited for a try-on session would end up with a several-month long shipping delay, that would be a huge let down after having just handled the device.

     

    The ship dates are now getting extreme, certain edition models now showing August deliveries, and some models simply being listed as "Sold Out" in China.

     

    If analysts are thinking this is a bad launch, they need to find a new job.

  • Reply 18 of 362
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,685member

    The UK stores are all June now. Wow Apple didn't really estimate how many orders they would get, or they had build issues. 

  • Reply 19 of 362
    tgr1tgr1 Posts: 33member
    ottobot wrote: »
    Here is an odd thing. When I placed my order via my iPhone using my standard Apple ID, the Apple Store App, and Apple Pay, the receipt was sent to my work email address and included my work phone number in the receipt. That email address and phone number are not linked to my Apple ID or Apple Pay at all. I have triple checked my account and my personal information is stored in Apple's systems. How could that have switched?

    Sort of happened to me. Shipping address and phone on my confirmation email was to an old address I had used years ago while all billing info was current. They are clearly stored in different ways as accessing the two addresses weren't the same. Definitely a bit confusing.
  • Reply 20 of 362
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,685member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ECats View Post

     

     

    With popular models selling out online in less than 30 minutes, queuing would guarantee missing out on a launch day delivery. For shoppers to stand a chance they'd have to buy online at home, thus the queues weren't ever going to be massive.

     

    Savvy shoppers knew one couldn't pre-order in store; which is something that Apple announced because it realised that demand was too large and anyone who waited for a try-on session would end up with a several-month long shipping delay, that would be a huge let down after having just handled the device.

     

    The ship dates are now getting extreme, certain edition models now showing August deliveries, and some models simply being listed as "Sold Out" in China.

     

    If analysts are thinking this is a bad launch, they need to find a new job.




    Unless there were production issues, of course. I am not saying there were, but that might be a factor.

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