Facing low yields and high customer demand for its wearable device, Apple has now confirmed in a memo to retail staff obtained by 9to5Mac that the Watch won’t be shipping before June.
Moreover, the company’s removed the April 24 date from its website last night, indicating that few of those who have pre-ordered their device will actually receive it by April 24.
While noting that there will be many more “blockbuster Apple product launch days” to come, Angela went on to explain why Apple took the unusual route of limiting availability of the Watch to online sales during the launch period, with in-store try-on appointments.
She reiterated that “due to high global interest combined with our initial supply, we are only taking orders online right now,” adding the company now expects this to “continue through the month of May.”
While acknowledging that Apple will not launch every new product this way, she did underscore that the Watch being a brand new product category has prompted the company to deliver a different shopping experience.
“That’s why, for the first time, we are previewing a new product in our stores before it has started shipping,” she said.
Here’s the full text of Angela’s memo to the troops:
On behalf of Tim and the rest of the executive team, I want to thank you very much for making last Friday’s debut of Apple Watch unforgettable. The Previews going on in our stores and support from our Contact Centers are unlike anything we have done before.
The feedback from customers is overwhelmingly positive. They are excited about Apple Watch, and your teams are creating fantastic experiences for them. Customers who pre-ordered will start receiving deliveries next Friday as planned, and I know you will do a great job helping them get set up.
Many of you have been getting questions asking if we will have the watch available in stores on April 24 for walk-in purchases. As we announced last week, due to high global interest combined with our initial supply, we are only taking orders online right now. I’ll have more updates as we get closer to in-store availability, but we expect this to continue through the month of May. It has not been an easy decision, and I want to share with you the thinking behind it.
It’s important to remember that Apple Watch is not just a new product but an entirely new category for us. There’s never been anything quite like it. To deliver the kind of service our customers have come to expect—and that we expect from ourselves—we designed a completely new approach. That’s why, for the first time, we are previewing a new product in our stores before it has started shipping.
Apple Watch is also our most personal product yet, with multiple case and band options because it’s an object of self-expression. Given the high interest and initial supply at launch, we will be able to get customers the model they want earlier and faster by taking orders online.
I know this is a different experience for our customers, and a change for you as well. Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No. We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days—and there will be many more to come. They’re the moments where you, our teams, shine. And our customers love them as well!
Apple Watch is an exciting new product and we are at the start of a very exciting time at Apple. You’re the best team on earth and you are doing an amazing job.
For customers who want to buy a watch, please continue to help them place their order online. Also make sure they know that, wherever they buy, Apple will provide them with a great Personal Setup experience — either online or in our stores. This includes syncing their Apple Watch with their iPhone and teaching them about all the incredible features of their new Apple Watch.
Thank you very much again, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
I’m sure this isn’t an outcome Apple was hoping for.
Having such a high-profile new-category product launch marred with extremely limited availability is bound to dissapoint many fans in the market for a smartwatch with an Apple logo on it, like myself.
But having the Watch advertised with the April 24 shipping date only to delay deliveries until June and remove any mention of the original shipping date damages the Apple brand to a certain extent.
On the other hand, even with $180 billion in bank Apple is still prone to manufacturing issues that are outside its control. Lower-than-expected yields of a single crucial component is enough to decrease the manufacturing output and this is precisely what we’re seeing right now.
Just to refresh your memory, a supply chain report a month ago claimed that Apple supplier Quanta Computer, which assembles the device, was facing extremely low defect-free rate of less than thirty percent.
Another report added that issues building the Watch’s screen have prompted Apple executives to cut initial shipment targets in half, going from the original estimate of 2.5 to 3 million units down to just 1.25 and 1.5 shipments.