During a trip last week to China, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook made several announcements at Apple’s eastern headquarters. He spoke about Apple’s environmental initiatives and about Apple Pay’s debut in China. Most exciting for customers outside of China, Cook reportedly promised that the Apple Watch will be available in stores by June of this year.
The rollout for the Apple Watch has been marred with problems since its debut almost a month ago. Initially only available online, every model of the Apple Watch sold out within hours of the pre-order option becoming available. While most of the first wave of watches has now shipped, customers that missed the initial pre-order have been facing ship times of 4-8 weeks for their watches. Even now, customers are able to make an appointment to demo the Watch in store, but are then forced to order from the Apple site if they’d like to purchase one.
The Apple Watch faced a lack of supply and was initially thought to be a strategic move by Apple. Many believed this strategic move was an effort to gauge the popularity of the different cases and bands. It was eventually found that lack of supply was, in large part, due to a massive supply of faulty taptic engines from one of their suppliers. A key component of the watch, the faulty parts caused a huge slowdown in the rollout.
Apple has been working hard to resolve their supply issues – even adding another supplier to ramp up stock. It appears as if their efforts are finally beginning to bear fruit. Although the initial sales have been highly successful, there is no doubt that sales have slowed due to the lack of availability. It is unlikely that Apple’s production will be entirely caught up with demand by June. However, some of the more popular models of the Watch, like the Apple Watch Sport, will likely be available for purchase in store some time next month. Until then, those who aren’t fortunate enough to own an Apple Watch yet will just have to exercise their patience.