Apple Watch has arrived for just 22 percent of preorder customers

“Launching a product so successful that pre-orders are overwhelming is something that Apple should be used to by now,” Andre Revilla reports for Digital Trends.

“Missing the mark by so much that your supply is out-matched by demand to the point that you can’t make product available in stores is a bit much,” Revilla reports. “his is the current situation with the new Apple Watch, Apple’s first new product category since 2010 and its hope for a strong start in Q3.”

“Slice Intelligence took a crack at measuring how many Apple watches had actually been delivered from the 1.7 million pre-orders placed,” Revilla reports. “From their investigation, it seems only about 22 percent of those orders have shipped.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This too shall pass. Good things come to those who wait.

Let’s face it, Apple never gauges demand correctly. They always undershoot, sometimes wildly. For an “operations genius,” anticipating demand, even remotely, seems to lie well outside of Tim Cook’s range of genius. We have the iPad 2 fiasco, the Great iMac Drought of Christmas 2012, and now Apple Watch, to name just three examples of wretched supply/demand imbalances at launch under Tim Cook.

That said, boy our Apple Watches are rather exclusive right now! Everybody and their mom is stopping us to ask us about them!

Also, Apple, we know you’re sensitive about battery life, but giving us some control over how long the AW display stays active would be helpful. It’s too short for some actions right now and it’s way too short for showing off the Watch to those who are interested in it.

Related articles:
Tim Cook’s mea culpa: iMac launch should have been postponed – April 24, 2013
With obtuse iPad 2 launch, Apple fails to delight 49,000 customers per day – March 21, 2011


  1. @MacDailyNew Take – um… when you lift your wrist and the AW screen turns on, give the screen a tap, (not on a complication) and the screen will stay on until you lower your wrist. Love my AW by the way.

    1. Yes, but the problem is that, when showing to to someone, the AW often considers the motion as “lowering” the arm and the display shuts down.

      Giving users the ability to trade battery life for longer active display periods is likely to come later – after the ability of anti-Apple media and competitors to misuse such a feature to position battery life as FUD material. In other words, if Apple let users at this early stage leave their displays on for longer periods of time, Apple Watch batteries would be running down before the day was out around the world and users would be piling onto Apple’s support boards and other online outlets (Twitter, etc.) with complaints. The way it is now, with the display activity timing fully under Apple’s control, that potential FUD vector is mitigated.

      1. Read by mistake.

        1. Why did MDN publish such ridiculous drivel?
        2. I sincerely doubt that any third party has a clue on how many watches have actually shipped.
        3. If you’re an early adopter, and did not anticipate a wait while Apple’s manufacturing partners ramp up to meet demand, and dare complain, I have no sympathy for your stupidity.
        4. This is Day 5 since the official release. Day 5. Dwell on that. Redwood trees don’t grow to a towering height overnight. The pipeline will be filled. Bugs will be fixed. Apple will learn how consumers use their watches and in turn, new OS updates will address many needs.
        5. None of this should be a surprise.

  2. I still don’t think that “Slice” has the remotest clue as to how many watches Apple has actually shipped, or for that matter, how many watches are actually pre-ordered… I think there “intelligence” is nothing more than a big “guess”

      1. Just because you use it “religiously”, doesn’t mean they are remotely accurate in any data they provide.. Unless they detail sources.. When they tell you something your religious use, what make you think the data is accurate? You only have their word on it right?

  3. Got my 42mm SG WATCH SPORT this morning at the UPS depot where the UPS rep had an iPhone 6 and didn’t know his Pay was ready to use via his iTunes registered CC. Set it up right there. I think he’s going to order one too.👀😜

    1. Also while setting it up at UPS Depot I had to call Applecare+ support because the WATCH app hadn’t developed the WATCH compatible apps list yet and I couldn’t figure out how to add individual apps. The AppleCare technical support expert was supper helpful and interviewed me as to how the setup went out of the box.💥⌚️👀🎉🎊👍😀

  4. The statistical accuracy depends upon how representative of the group the sample is. Usually a deviation +/- is given, eg, 22+/- 2%, otherwise it’s just a SWAG (Sophisticated Wild Assed Guess.) 🖖😀⌚️

  5. You don’t build a supply chain for launch numbers, you build them for sustained, profitable operation. Tim Cook knows that better than anyone.
    So the real question is about how much inventory they prepared ahead of launch and that’s largely a marketing decision not a supply chain one. Add to the fact that there are so many choices I dare say Apple was in the position where they just had to guess at an initial number and prepare their manufacturing processes to be adaptable to the unknown tastes for a brand new product.
    So while we fanbois get frustrated at the wait (ordered in first 5 minutes and Watch is still processing!) the millions who will buy throughout the rest of the year should have a pretty smooth experience.
    We’ll keep buying Apple products because we have a deeper understanding and appreciation of them. There will be millions of new fans by the 1st anniversary of Watch who will have just waked into an Apple Store or ordered online and got their choice with little or no wait. Then when they go to purchase some new Apple product, they’ll already be fans and won’t desert Apple just because of a launch delay.

    1. So either he underestimated it selling or he’s just stupid. Either way it’s a screw up. Sure they lost allot of sales for those who would’ve bought one as to those as my self who had time to change there mind after hearing it’s not what it was cracked up to be. When it’s waterproof and I can actually change the display maybe then I’ll reconsider

      1. That’s wrong on so many counts. Firstly, the CEO of a company doesn’t do inventory and manufacturing calculations, that’s the job of specialists.

        Secondly, the CEO sets the strategy for the company and it has long been Apple’s strategy not to excessively pre-pump their inventory ahead of launches but rather rely on their lean and flexible manufacturing capabilities to swiftly react to demand. Instead, they concentrate on longterm forecasting and allow for some flex. They also rely on shifting the launch dates in secondary release markets to gradually ease supply back into the supply chain.

        Thirdly, you were never going to buy a Watch anyway. There hasn’t been a single trustworthy review which runs markedly counter to the hands on previews or the marketing material put out by Apple.

  6. I received mine this morning. What people don’t realize is that these are being delivered fresh off the assembly line. Mine was assembled on April 22. That’s less than a week from being assembled in China to being used on my wrist in the US.

    Apple could’ve taken a different approach of stockpiling Watches and then shipping them all out after a month or two, but who benefits from that?

    1. One of the reasons Apple is so successful is they don’t have a lot of inventory sitting around, ever. The initial surge is hard to judge and I wonder how few they actually had pre-built prior to launch. I get the impression that everything, up to and including your delivery address is handled at the factory, and they could put a note in the box saying “Hi Kev, hope you like the watch” if they so chose. No middle warehouse, breaking down pallets of Watches and packing them for shipment to individuals. Just a 747-load, going through customs and individual boxes, or groups of boxes, getting logged into the delivery service tracking systems and sent on their merry way.

      Still waiting myself.

      1. You’re pretty bang on with that summary. Unless you are buying something in stock at an Apple Store, an unchanged fast moving standard item, or a popular configuration, you are pretty much buying something explicitly manufactured for you at the last possible moment.

  7. These simple-minded analysts and journalists have got it ALL wrong. For Apple Watch, Apple never intended to have a “supply” of Apple Watches (38 different models) stockpiled (at thousands of retail locations) at the time of “launch” on April 24.

    The plan for Apple Watch is to have customers order Apple Watch online, and THEN build Apple Watch units to precisely fulfill that ACTUAL demand. So there is essentially NO unsold inventory collecting dust, EVER. Every Apple Watch is currently “pre-sold” before it is produced. That’s like a dream-world for manufacturing.

    The actual Apple Watch launch was April 10, when customers could try one at an Apple Store for the first time, and order an Apple Watch online. Then wait at least two weeks for delivery. Nothing changed in the Apple Watch buying process on April 24. And nothing will change going forward (at least in the near term).

    What is depicted as some kind of “supply/demand failure” for Apple is precisely what Apple intended. Now that Apple knows precisely the ratio of models to produce, because production matching real orders (not filling inventory), production rate is increasing smoothly and efficiently. That’s why customers are reporting delivery weeks earlier than originally estimated. That’s why Apple can spare a significant number of units for that special developer program. That’s why Apple had a supply of Apple Watch to sell at those 8 exclusive (get some free media attention) locations on April 24.

    At some point, Apple will catch up on Apple Watch production. Then the buying experience will be (1) order an Apple Watch online, (2) get it delivered in a few days. Still the same, minus the extended wait. I wouldn’t be surprised if that continues to be the primary way to buy an Apple Watch, indefinitely.

    1. People here should be glad they didn’t live in Russia during the Cold War. A citizen would order a Russian made auto, and wait, and wait, sometimes years. When they finally got it, they would be lucky if it had at least some of the accessories they ordered, it was usually much more expensive (inflation) than when they ordered it, and the model may have drastically changed. 🖖😀⌚️

      1. Prices were fixed in USSR, and were unchanged for decades, no inflation. However, manufacturing for civilian purposes was usually mediocre, it is true. Planned economy and no competition without actual drive to improve has made those goods that way (unlike military/high-technology areas, where international competition was driving force).

        1. They still passed on cost of manufacturing to civilians on many goods. Even military goods were of inferior quality compared to US standards. Safety was not considered a priority, nor were esthetic factors. If it looked crappy, but functioned, they used it. Compromises were built into all products. I had a job in the military that allowed access to technical specifications, photos, etc of foreign military equipment. (I could tell you more, but I’s have to kill you.😉😀) 🖖😀⌚️

          1. “Even military goods were of inferior quality compared to US standards.”

            Not really; they were of exceptional quality. But convenience and comfort were not important points in design, it is true.

    2. Woo-hoo! I just rec’d e-mail that my Watch has shipped for delivery tomorrow, and my CC has been charged! Like so many other people, I ordered mine Fri 04/10 12:05am, and my estimated delivery was MAY 13-27! I was totally bummed! I was actually going to try to get one at Maxfield in Beverly Hills this week, but now I don’t have to! Yay, Apple!

      ps. MDN, “This _too_ shall pass.”

  8. I think MDN’s take about Cook’s operational failures is wrong, because the issue in all those listed cases is not that Apple underestimated demand, but with the simple fact that Apple can not immediately start manufacturing of new gadget in its peak pace.

    Cook’s failure with iMac case was that he has set shipping date for this product too early.

  9. It is utterly ridiculous to say Tim should have been able to precisely meet the international demand for an entirely new product category.
    (Yes, entirely new. Stupidwatches don’t count, and the sales were zero indication of what sales would be for the Apple Watch.)

    Plus, as pointed out, for many years now, massive demand has been the norm for Apple, over and over and over again. So remember that, relax, and get on with life. You’ll be able to get one before you die.

  10. Missing the demand is an understatement. I ordered my watch at 3:03 AM EST and am scheduled to get mine by May13. Seems like they could have at least estimated enough for the first 30 minutes?? I guess I am not committed enough? Waited in line for iPhone 1 to have it day 1. This I order in first 10 minutes ONLINE and still miss the first run. That’s a major bummer. Thing is I will be first in line for next product also. I say this as I type on my new Macbook Retina I had to order from Best Buy in order to get it a couple weeks faster. Wish they had the  Watch Sport at least also.

    1. You’re really not getting are you? Estimates are that around 2.3 million Watches were preordered in the launch markets.
      If the guesstimates of 20 million annual sales worldwide are to be hit by Apple then the preorders alone would account for 6 weeks of regular production.
      Now, exactly which models should they have pre-made and in what amounts?
      And where the hell would they keep them all – you would need thousands of pallets to store them on – and have them still be available for picking, packing and shipping?
      And who would have been the poor guy who had to retrieve all the finished products from the production line and precariously balance them all on a pallet, shrinkwrap it and put it away only to find that hundreds more had been manufactured in that time?
      Yes I’m oversimplifying and exaggerating but building out in advance in the kind of numbers that Apple sells is crazy and super expensive. It’s worse than usual due to the sheer number of Watch combinations available.
      It adds the need for massive storage for weeks, extra labour to pick and pack the stored products in a warehouse rather than via a robot at the end of a production line. It is subject to forecasting errors which could potentially leave Apple needing weeks to run down stock of certain combinations that their internal guys might guess wrong about for a brand new product with no ordering history.
      It also means Apple would have to sit on literally billions of dollars of stock for many weeks and also store billions of dollars of expensive parts – including really pricey metal! – way before they actually needed them.
      All of the above adds extra cost to the product – want to pay more for yours? Also, every extra step that is added also adds an extra chance for something to go wrong: for breakages, mislabelling, box crushing, picking errors and all of this adds even more cost to remedy, causes customer service anguish and all to assuage the momentary frustration of a few adult infants who can’t bear to wait a few extra weeks for the arrival of the first examples of a brand new and historic Apple product.
      Sounds like pretty bad business to me. That ain’t Tim Cook.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.