Apple Watch preorders surpass 2 million amidst constraints

Apple Watch preorders surpass 2 million amidst supply constraints

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A line of Apple customers, who had registered for appointments to try on the Apple Watch, wait for the doors to open at the downtown Chicago store. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
A line of potential customers wait to try on the Apple Watch. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

While Apple isn’t saying how many Watches it’s sold, estimates so far are that more than 1 million preorders have been placed.

Now the industry’s leading Apple analyst is weighing in with his own findings, including why preorder estimates have already been pushed back to June.

KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a more consistent track record with following Apple than most, estimates that Apple Watch production has already hit 2.3 million units, a healthy number considering a recent survey found that less than 6% of U.S. adults plan to buy one.

Kuo’s channel checks found that the cheapest Apple Watch Sport model has accounted for 85% of preorders, while the stainless steel Watch accounted for 15%. Unsurprisingly, less than 1% of preorders have been for the ultra-expensive Edition model.

Apple hopes to be producing 2-3 million units per month, according to Kuo. Shipping estimates quickly slipped all the way to June right after the Watch was made available for preorder, and Kuo attributes the constraints to issues with certain parts in the supply chain.

The vibration motors needed for the Watch’s Taptic Engine and its flexible AMOLED displays from LG have been the specific reasons for constraints. The vibrator in the Watch has to be smaller than the iPhone’s and much more exact. For instance, it has to be able to tap the user on the right or left side of the wrist to aid with turn-by-turn directions. Kuo notes that the AMOLED displays have had issues with rendering colors correctly and poor battery life.

The Apple Watch is already well on track to outselling the entirety of the existing smartwatch market, but when the iPhone is pushing tens of millions of units per quarter, the bar Apple has set for itself is pretty high.