Did Apple underestimate the most popular Apple Watch Sport color?

“Apple Watch preorders were off to a bang, with an estimated 1.25 million being ordered on day one. Of those watches, the Space Gray Apple Watch Sport with Black Band was, by far, the most popular,” John Brownlee writes for Cult of Mac. “Did Apple screw up its orders?

One more thing about those Apple Watch estimates from Slice Intelligence: if they’re accurate, they suggest Apple screwed up the color choices for the Sport collection. According to Slice, a whopping 64 percent of Sport purchases were for the space gray model with black band, 22 percent for white, and a mere 6/4/4 for blue/green/pink respectively. If this is even close to the true mix, Apple probably should have left the blue/green/pink bands as accessories only, and added a black-strap-on-silver-watch choice.John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple forced the Space Gray Apple Watch Sport with Black Sport Band to be the most popular choice. Just like they forced us to buy our Apple Watch Sport units with White Bands (that we plan to leave in the boxes) and to spend an extra $49 per Watch for the Black Sport Band that the Silver AWS obviously should have been offered with in their canned preorder configs (if Apple were interested in offering a model that would be several times more popular than any other Apple Watch Sport combo). Plus the fact that the “blue,” “green,” and “pink” colors that they did offer with AWS are, in varying degrees, unwearable, ugly, and putrid (not to mention generally too-feminine for a 42mm AWS on a male wrist).

Apple Watch Sport preorder configs in Snow White, Baby Blue, Oh-So-Tender Green,  Puke Salmon, and Black (but not for the Silver AWS)
Apple Watch Sport preorder configs in Snow White, Baby Powder Blue, Oh-So-Tender Green, Puke Salmon, and Black (but not for the Silver AWS)

It’s almost as if Apple’s assemblers produced too many Space Gray AWS and/or not enough Silver ones, so they tried to manipulate the preorders by leaving the Black Sport Band out of the choices for the Silver AWS. Or they were trying to grab an extra $49 for Black bands (with us, they succeeded multiple times; regardless, it did guarantee we’d get our Watches on Day One, so it was worth the extra $49 per). Or they were trying to push AWS buyers (many of whom will be transitioning from things like Nike+ FuelBands and are therefore looking for the lightest weight possible) to AW in order to get the silver (Stainless Steel) with Black Sport Band preorder config that they did, for some reason, deign to offer, proving that a Silver Watch with a Black band is not aesthetically offensive to Jony Ive (who may, in fact, given the evidence above, be colorblind). (We’re not decorating nurseries here, Jony. These are watch bands.)

So, how many people chose the Space Gray case just because it was the only AWS preorder config that offered a black band?

As we wrote last Friday: With each report, it becomes clearer that not only using the iOS Apple Store app, with a favorited Watch, at exactly 12am PDT, but that choosing a Silver 42mm Sport with White band and then pairing it with a $49 Black Sport band bought separately offered us a better chance than choosing the preorder config Space Black Sport with Black Sport Band which, as we guessed, would be quite a popular choice. (We were concerned about scratching the anodized Space Black to reveal silver aluminum with wear and simply preferred the contrast between the Silver and the Black band better.)


  1. Pretty hot take – unwearable, ugly and putrid? I guess I’ll sheepishly hide the blue sports band I ordered along w/ my Watch blue leather loop combo. And the pink band my wife bought along side her Watch Milanese combo.

    1. Did you go to an Apple Store to try on the Leather Loop band?

      I pre-ordered a stainless steel w/ black sports band at 3:02am, then waited on the extra band until I could try one on later that morning in an Apple Store. The Leather Loop was the first band I tried on, and while on my wrist I shook my fist in the air, no more vigorously than I would applauding, or jumping out of my seat in Joe Louis Arena when the Red Wings score a goal … and to my, and everyone else at the bench’s, shock, the Leather Loop came undone, and the WATCH I was trying on with it (42mm Silver SS) flew off of my arm, and slide across the bench. I immediately crossed that band off of my potential list!

      The Milanese Loop did not seem as prone to coming undone under the same “test”. My guess is that the leather not being completely smooth, does not allow the same magnetic adhesion as the Milanese Loop band. I ended up pre-ordering a Milanese band while in the Store, but having thought about it since, I am leaning towards canceling the order and placing an order for a standard buckle band instead.

      1. I’m surprised we aren’t reading more about this. I wouldn’t get a magnetic clasp no matter who promised it would not release when it shouldn’t. I’m guessing this will become a real issue.

    2. If you go into a store that sells running shoes, you will see bright colors very similar to the bands of the Apple Watch SPORT. This is probably not a coincidence.

  2. I’m not like most people. I have to have black everything. Even the walls in my office are painted black. I ordered the steel black link bracelet with space black case because it was the only option, I won’t settle for grey or silver, and sadly it won’t deliver until June even for the very first person to have ordered it.

  3. I thought the color choices were odd – they should have had black- grey- red – olive ( or a neutral ) and white. the awful colors you can buy if you really had to have them

    1. Maybe they are part of the “Rainbow Collection”, or maybe they were offered simply for their uniqueness…. either way, my wife loves the 38mm, Sport, with the Pink Sport band.

  4. I chose the AL 42 with white…somehow reminds me of the first Mac I received on, you guessed it, January 24, 1984.

    Drove to rural post office to snatch the Mac. I was so excited.

  5. I agree with MDN…I wanted a silver sport with black band. I didn’t want the stainless watch. I didn’t want a white or colored band. I didn’t order the silver sport with w/p/b band because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get a (second) black band at preorder time and furthermore had no interest in buying a second band until I could see and try on in person. I settled for space grey and black. Looks cool but I hope the space grey doesn’t scratch

  6. I got the stainless steel/black sports band (i wanted to try on the other bands, which I did today). The ss finish seemed the most versatile to go between work out, casual, and business.

  7. I continue to think of this as Apple figuring out the new (to them, most certainly) market. Going from figures collected by the stupidwatch market obviously would not have been much help. (I don’t know enough about the Pebble Watch market to know how closely it fit’s Apple’s intended market. I don’t think of their watches as ‘stupid’ so much as pioneering. I’ll let more knowledgeable folks discuss Pebble).

  8. Apple did not “underestimate” anything. Let’s not even call it “pre-ordering” anymore. It’s just “ordering.” Apple just set the first delivery date to be two weeks later than the first ordering date. A smart plan…

    Now, Apple is producing Apple Watches (at the fastest possible rate) in response actual orders, not internal predictions, to add to the existing stockpile BEFORE shipping starts for April 24th delivery. If the Space Grey Sport was most popular, the factories are now churning out more of that watch and band type, compared to other types, to better balance supply with demand, BEFORE the actual release date.

    The point is, don’t treat whatever stockpile Apple had on April 10th as the “starting point.” It’s mostly irrelevant. The real starting point is April 24th, and Apple gave itself the flexibility to compensate for actual demand. If the Sport Watch with pink band was unexpectedly the most popular, it would have made no difference. 🙂

    1. “Inventory is fundamentally evil. You kind of want to manage it like you’re in the dairy business. If it gets past its freshness date, you have a problem.”
      – Tim Cook

    2. I think you are right. I’m sure Apple had a supply already manufactured in some estimated allocation, but this “pre-order” period gives them some real solid data on true manufacturing needs.

  9. There is no reason to use a preconfigured set of watches. You should be able to choose a watch and then choose a band. Make your own combination. Surely they can produce the bands faster than the watches, so you can get both delivered on the same day.

    1. There is an adage that goes like this: The more choices you have, the longer it takes to make a decision.

      So, you have 10 Watches and over 3 dozen bands to choose from.

      So you are a product manager faced with the fact, that not all parts to case are manufactured in the same place. Not all the parts of all the bands are made in the same place. Not all assembly is done in the same place. Not all the inventory is kept in the same place. Not all the shipping is done from the same place. Not all the security is handled by the same company. Not all the advertising, promotion and sales are handled by the same company.

      So. Just how many of each model and configuration would you bet your future on?

  10. “So, how many people chose the Space Gray case just because it was the only AWS preorder config that offered a black band?”
    – However you could get a similar look AW Stainless Steel case with the black sports band. How many people got upsold because of that?
    – I myself was going to order the AW SS with link bracelet (estimated May13 starting ship) but switched immediately to the AW SS with black sports band (estimated starting ship 4-24) and ordered the link bracelet separately (estimated starting ship 4-29) because that combination would ship much sooner. So they got me for an extra black sports band that I may not use much just because I didn’t want to wait. I too wonder how much of that was deliberate?

  11. MDN Take: “Or they were trying to grab an extra $49 for Black bands (with us, they succeeded multiple times).”

    Anyone surprised by this hasn’t been paying attention.

    iPhone and iPad users felt the same sting when the latest generation’s entry level models are *still* stuck at a measly 16 GB (what entry-level iPhone 3GS had *six years ago*), and are “compelled” to pay another $100 to get the next storage level up.

  12. Geez, I’m not alone! I just couldn’t get to terms with buying a white Sport Watch +extra black band and virtually trash the original one. And there’s 2 white bands included! What an incredible waste… Funny that they push marketing on “options” and omit the most obvious one to so many of us. So I sadly decided to wait in the hope they soon change their mind and offer a black band AWS… Not very confident though!

  13. I like the blue bands, so that’s what I ordered. Maybe someday I will actually get it. June seems like a really long wait considering every other high demand Apple product that I have preordered in the past arrived on the official release date.

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