Apple has totally botched the Apple Watch launch

“We are now just one week away from the official launch of the Apple Watch, and by most accounts it seems that Apple has another hit product on its hands,” Kraig Becker writes for Apple Gazette. “But the preorder process hasn’t gone as smoothly as we’ve seen in the past, and a surprising lack of supply has pushed delivery dates back into June. There is no denying that Apple has made some stumbles with the rollout of their new wearable, as the Apple Watch Launch has felt unlike any product release we’ve seen from Cupertino in sometime. Which begs the question, just how did Apple manage to underestimate demand so dramatically?”

“It seems likely that either the company didn’t produce enough Watches, or simply couldn’t produce enough of them,” Becker writes. “Perhaps it is best to look at the April 24 date as more of a ‘soft’ launch rather than a full one. At this point, the real launch date seems to be coming in June, which is when Apple hopes to have solved all of its production woes and have caught up on the backlog of preorders. Still, it is impossible to not feel a bit disappointed in the Apple Watch experience so far.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Production issues can, in fact, be unforeseen. This will all work out (eventually). In the meantime, if you got your Apple Watch preorder in within the first three minutes or so, congrats! You’ll be among the very few with an Apple Watch for quite some time!

Related article:
Highly sought-after Apple Watch won’t hit retail store shelves until June at the earliest – April 16, 2015
Ahrendts memo: Apple Watches will not be available to buy in-store throughout May – April 16, 2015
Analyst: Low Apple Watch supply due to haptic motor and OLED display issues – April 15, 2015
Apple Watch deliveries could arrive sooner than expected – April 14, 2015
Apple Watch preorder data estimate: 1.24 million Apple Watches were preordered in the U.S. on Friday alone – April 13, 2015
Apple Watch first weekend preorders destroy Android Wear’s annual sales – April 13, 2015
Average U.S. Apple Watch pre-order was $707 – April 13, 2015
Apple Watch first-day pre-orders estimated near 1 million – April 13, 2015
Apple likely to quickly ramp up Apple Watch production – April 13, 2015
Apple Watch pre-order shipping estimates stretch into summer – April 11, 2015
Apple Watch sold out in minutes; didn’t preorder in time, how’s June sound? – April 10, 2015
Here are the dates you can expect to get your Apple Watch – April 10, 2015
Apple Watch on fire as Apple sells out fast – April 10, 2015
Apple Watch draws strong turnout at Apple Retail Stores – April 10, 2015
Apple Watch already sold out – April 10, 2015
Open thread: Did you get your Apple Watch preorder placed? – April 10, 2015

38 Comments

  1. The Apple Watch launches on April 24 when the 12:01 am crowd receive their watches. Unfortunately I was a 12:03 am’er and will receive mine between May 13 and 24. Being a Apple customer since 1989, I have a feeling my Apple Watch will arrive a few days before the 13th.

    1. I think you’re right. History shows that Apple is usually able to get their preorders out a little earlier than they indicate on their site. They’re very good about under promising and over delivering.

      Having said that, there were no server crashes like in the past, so the pre-ordering process itself went smoothly.

      I’m just glad I was able to get mine (and my wive’s) ordered in the first minute and will be camped out on my doorstep on Friday looking for the UPS truck to deliver my 42/SS/Milanese Loop and the wife’s 38/AWS/White sport band.

    1. Yeah, How dare Apple not have 20 million watches on hand so the line can be served??? I mean really. I want what I want, when I want it. NOW… to heck with supply chain and all that crap…. Just throw the unsold ones away like Atari and Samsung.. I mean really!!! heavy /s

      I don’t know about you guys , but I am pretty happy with Apple’s efforts all around. Not perfect, just really good.

      Just saying.

    1. Agreed. There have been reports of Apple having problems acquiring enough haptic engines and OLED screens, which of course would result in fewer Watches being produced. However, Apple can’t completely abandon its sales plan, which was likely months in the making, due to last minute production problems.

      The flip side is that if Apple had simply made the release date April 24 and had people line up a week in advance for the Watch, it still would have sold out within a few hours and many, many people would not have received one. So how is that so much worse than what happened with the pre-orders?

      1. Not so fast… The real issue is that there could have been NO lines in advance. Thats why its online only. Your kidding yourself if you think Apple couldn’t have had a lot more inventory ready to go. In fact, the launch, the ‘sell-out’, the delays in shipment is going exactly as designed.

        1. Exactly. A Company that should know by now the demand there products receive and they can’t get it rite. It’s all a game they play. Let’s have a small supply and high demand and that’ll justify the ridiculous pricing. See, see were great, everyone wants one. We sold out but wait a couple of months. That’ll just get you closer to next version. I’ll wait

  2. Or maybe they had no real idea exactly how successful it would be. No point having production capacity at such a level that they would have tens of millions ready at launch and then find they don’t sell them all and are making more than they need for the first quarter or so. As it is they’ve already sold a huge amount. This is an entirely new and effectively untested market. Coupled with production difficulties, if this is a botched launch I want to botch everything I do.

    1. And an entirely new production process, which would have to be adjusted and fine-tuned as production ramped up. Also, quite a few polls showed a lukewarm-at-best demand for the Watch, even though most of us on MDN knew those polls were about as accurate as political exit polls have been the past few years.

    2. It’s mostly irrelevant. If the competition had a similar product that customers could buy instead of Apple Watch, then insufficient supply to meet demand would matter. But the situation is that any reasonably delay in customers receiving their Apple Watch makes no difference. Apple ultimately sells as many Apple Watches as Apple makes, as fast as they are being made.

      For a product like Apple Watch that comes in 30 models (38 counting the gold Edition models), having customers order it online and wait for delivery is the optimal way to sell it. Apple has something like 500 Apple Stores. Trying to stock that many stores with sufficient supply so that customers can walk in and walk out with the exact model they desire means carrying a large inventory of unsold merchandise. That’s inventory that becomes outdated, as soon as the new models are due (or just rumored). Doing it “half-ass” (limited inventory at each store) means millions of customers are disappointed, because they could not find the exact Apple Watch they wanted at their local Apple Store.

      Apple is setting the customer expectation (for Apple Watch) to be purchase be trying it at a store, then ordering it online, and waiting for delivery or in-store pickup. Those who define a product “launch” as when it is stockpiled (sitting on shelves collecting dust) in hundreds of physical stores are woefully outdated in their thinking. They will be “disappointed” for a LONG time, as they wait for the “real launch date.” (Also disappointed are the “scalpers.”)

  3. Editor – Okay people, we’re switching our stories from the Apple Watch being a flop. Kraig! Quick, write a story about Apple’s unbelievably successful watch . . . and make it negative!

    Kraig – You got it Chief!

  4. Personally, I think this was a fairly successful launch in terms of how it was managed (in terms of units of course it was a wild success).

    How did Apple under-estimate demand? I’m not sure they did. However, here’s the funny part… even today, when analysts can better survey and observe actual engagements, we’re getting estimates that range from under 1 million to 2.5 million. Apple didn’t have any of this information prior to actual pre-orders.

    Really all that Apple could’ve done here is push back launch to June/July, but that really doesn’t benefit anyone. Why should those who ordered at 12:01 wait until there are enough Apple Watches to satisfy those who ordered sometime over the weekend?

    People may see this as “Apple has production problems”, but it may just be a case of “Apple is going to start shipping to customers as soon as the production line starts cranking out Apple Watches” and that the production capacity isn’t going to over-crank for an initial run only to have to scale back drastically a couple of months later.

    1. How do you judge worldwide demand for something that has never been produced before? Without hindsight it’s not as easy as it looks. Take a look at the Surface for example.

    2. Not only that, but Apple’s “production problems” in one weekend still far outsold the entirety of Android dumb watches over the past year. Some problem.

  5. Kraig, Apple would have totally botched the Apple Watch launch if they had 2.5 million of them in stock and got orders for 25 of them. That’s the kind of analyst wet dream that you hope some day, some day you’ll be able to write about.

  6. 2.5 million Apple watches made a month X 9 = 22.5 million for 2015. I bet that apple scales to 5 million by October 1 and we see 30 million Apple Watches sold in 2015. Who’s going to be talking about a botched pre-launch around January 23, 2016 when Apple is destroying YOY when it announces earnings.

  7. Who cares! Apple has done this sort of thing for years. Announce a product and then constrict demand upon release. It only drives demand higher among consumers and pisses off the media/naysayers. If you want any Apple upon first release it’s a risk you take. For the rest of us, we wait a little longer and waltz right into either an Apple Store or plunk down our cc info online and get the item. Apple is not likely to change this behavior any time soon. Get used to it folks. Live and learn.

  8. Botch checklist.

    1. Idiot writer ? Check
    2. Idiot boss of idiot writer ? check
    3. Apple trolling ? ..

    Tell me, what would you have done different ? The Apple Watch will be in short supply for a few months, or even a year.

  9. Kraig, you’re an idiot. Yeah, I know your assignment was to write something negative about the Apple watch. You could have said that it doesn’t predict the future, it’s not a Star Trek transporter, or that it does have a food replicator app. But no, you chose to focus on the fact that, in less than an hour, Apple sold every watch it had on hand, or could manufacture. That would make sense if we were talking about 10,000 watches, but estimates run from 1.5M to 2.5M worldwide. With analysts calling for 8M sold for the entire year, those numbers would seem to be a blowout, and indicate that the Apple watch is a rousing success on the order of the original iPhone. You’re a tool, Kraig.

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