If you managed to nab an Apple Watch pre-order with a shipping window of ‘April 24th – May 8th,’ consider yourself very fortunate. According to analyst Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray, the first batch of devices sold out within the first 10 to 30 minutes. New pre-orders list June or July as the estimated delivery month.
But things seems to be stabilizing. Lead times on the five models Munster’s been tracking haven’t budged since this morning, leading him to believe that initial supply, not necessarily demand, was the limiting factor. That’s essentially as predicted — Apple’s SVP of retail, Angela Ahrendts, said earlier this week that based on “the tremendous interest from people visiting our stores” and “the number of customers who have gone to the Apple Online Store to mark their favorite Apple Watch ahead of availability,” supply would likely be constrained.
Manufacturing issues are partly to blame. Apple reportedly cut its order for the Apple Watch in half due to manufacturing issues with the device’s AMOLED display, according to a report from Taiwanese website Economic Daily News. Reported yields of as little as 30 percent may have led to an inventory target of 1.25 to 1.5 million, down from 2.5 to 3 million.
It’s for that reason Apple “is less likely [to] release opening weekend sales figures,” Munster says. He believes that demand will increase as more consumers have a chance to try out the Apple Watch for themselves — today marked the first opportunity for potential buyers to demo the smartwatch in Apple Stores worldwide. Sales for the quarter, Munster predicts, will end up around 2.3 million units.
Unsurprisingly, the relative scarcity has already managed to drive some eBay bids far above MSRP. But the pricing appears to vary wildly by model, with the stainless steel variant fetching a much higher premium than the Sport.
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