Looking forward to the day when you can walk into an Apple Store and walk out with a new Apple Watch? I'm afraid you've got quite a wait ahead of you.
According to a memo sent out to staff - a copy of which made its way to 9to5Mac - by Angela Ahrendts, Apple's Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Sales, the company is for the time being focused on fulfilling online orders.
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.
So the idea is, for now at any rate, that customers get a preview at Apple Stores, and are then pointed to the online store to make the purchase.
There are, after all, a lot of different permutations of the Apple Watch on offer. Different models, sizes, straps, and finish. If a store is going to hold every possible combination, that's a lot of product it needs to stock, and satisfying that demand would not be a good use of the supply chain if it is already feeling the pressure.
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.
Ahrendts is keen to point out that this is a stop-gap solution until Apple pins down the right in-store solution.
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.
Will this be the way forward with future launches? Not according to Ahrendts.
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.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with a good track record when it comes to Apple, suggests that initial sales may exceed 2.3 million units, and that Apple is planning to expand the supply chain to cope with the demand.
We estimate production of Apple Watch around 2.3 million units in March-May. Mass production of Apple Watch began in March and will likely reach 2.3 million by end of May. Considering that most consumers who preordered will not get the device until June, we estimate global preorders of over 2.3 million units, with Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition representing a respective order allocation of 85 percent, 15 percent and less than 1 percent.