Cupertino has finally admitted what most of us already knew: there will be no Apple Watches for sale at retail stores on April 24. The quiet admission was made overnight by the company’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts.
In a memo to retail staff, the senior vice president of retail and online stores notes:
… 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.
In other words, folks probably won’t be able to purchase a Watch at Apple retail stores until at least June.
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.
Ahrendts’ announcement is reflected on Apple’s website, which no longer shows April 24 as the Apple Watch launch date. Instead, visitors are greeted with the following message: “The Watch is coming.”
None of this comes as much of a surprise.
Soon after preorders for Apple Watch began at 12:01 a.m. PDT on Friday, April 10, it became obvious that there might be a problem, as ship dates began extending into May, and then June. Those who did place an order early currently have a delivery date of “4/24 to 5/8.”
So what happened? KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the Apple Watch’s Taptic Engine, which incorporates haptic feedback technology into the smartwatch, could be one cause for obvious production delays.
Regardless of the reason, it’s clear that Ahrendts isn’t happy about it. She told employees that the process has been unacceptable, noting “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.”
Kuo believes that Apple will have sold up to 2.3 million Apple Watches before the end of May. Imagine what that number would have been without the production issues.
The full text of Ahrendts’ memo was first posted by iGen.