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View Full Version : So, Apple Watch Launch strategy...



dbm
04-10-2015, 05:22 AM
... Marketing genius or supply chain disaster?

Personally I'm gutted that, after all the excitement, it will be another two months before the watch I want is available. Yes, these are first world problems, but I expect better from Apple, who must surely be the world wide experts on global launches?

vansmith
04-10-2015, 09:50 AM
It could just be higher than expected demand. No company is immune to unexpected customer response and I suspect that Apple, however much they might be prepped for large releases, didn't estimate this kind of response. There's also a theory that the nightmare that is accounting for the numerous types might be slowing things down.

pigoo3
04-10-2015, 10:45 AM
... Marketing genius or supply chain disaster?

Personally I'm gutted that, after all the excitement, it will be another two months before the watch I want is available. Yes, these are first world problems, but I expect better from Apple, who must surely be the world wide experts on global launches?

Just because you personally won't get your watch when you want it does not necessarily mean a disaster. A disaster would be if the iWatch feel flat on its face…and iWatch sales would bomb.

My guess is this won't happen. Sales will be BIG…and eventually you will have one too. If you don't have your iWatch now…it's simply something you can still look forward to getting in the near future!:)

- Nick

MacInWin
04-10-2015, 01:12 PM
From what I read, the original shipping dates were by May 7, but within hours it started to slip out. Typical of a new release from Apple, when the early orders get fulfilled and later orders wait. It's about what happens every time. It is almost impossible to estimate day one orders for anything. What was surprising to me is that the gold edition slipped out to 3-4 months pretty quickly, too. Who would have thought demand for that would have been that high?

dbm
04-10-2015, 02:01 PM
Literally as soon as the Apple website went live in the UK I attempted to purchase a black SS watch, and the delivery date was June. A look through the other watches showed that only the colourful Sport watches (not the black one), and the classic buckle SS watch were available for launch day. Every other watch combination was 4-6 weeks or longer. The yellow gold watches were August.

That is not over demand, that is lack of supply.

ETA: to clarify, I don't feel entitled to buy a Watch, but why whip up demand when you know you can't supply it? This is like buying a car, and they are built to order.

pigoo3
04-10-2015, 02:21 PM
That is not over demand, that is lack of supply.

It's most likely both.

This is not the first Apple product to experience this sort of thing. Same thing happened when the iPads were first introduced. And it happens regularly with newly released iPhone models.

- Nick

dbm
04-10-2015, 02:30 PM
My point is that there seems to have been no more than tens of that particular model available for the UK at launch, perhaps zero. Any demand outstrips supply at that point.

pigoo3
04-10-2015, 02:38 PM
My point is that there seems to have been no more than tens of that particular model available for the UK at launch, perhaps zero. Any demand outstrips supply at that point.

If you can confirm this…then I agree with you 100%…lack of supply.:)

But don't you think that 100's, 1000's (or maybe even 10's of 1000's) of folks in the UK were doing the EXACT same thing as you. Trying to get an Apple iWatch at the EXACT time the site went live. If 10,000, 20,000, or more folks all sign into the Apple website to purchase an Apple iWatch at the exact same time…some folks will get one & some won't.

BELIEVE ME…it wasn't just you and 10 other blokes signing into the website when it first went live to get an Apple iWatch!;)

If you want one so badly…head to eBay. I bet that Apple iWatches (once they get into peoples hands)...will start showing up on eBay. And folks bidding on them will be more than happy to pay 2x, 3x, or more than the original list price for them. Just the way it goes.

- Nick

dbm
04-10-2015, 02:52 PM
I doubt 1000 people were attempting to purchase a black SS watch at 8:05 this morning when the web site had only been up 30 seconds. I had the watch as a 'favourite' and went straight to it. The silver link watch was still showing 4-6 weeks at that point.

pigoo3
04-10-2015, 05:03 PM
I doubt 1000 people were attempting to purchase a black SS watch at 8:05 this morning when the web site had only been up 30 seconds.

The bottom line is:

- You don't know how many folks were signed in at the same time as you.
- You don't know that Apple only had 10's of the iWatch model you wanted in stock.

Without any data to backup any of this conjecture…it's like piling dog poop on top of dog poop. The pile of dog poop just gets bigger & bigger!;)

The two things that are known are:

- You were not able to order an iWatch.
- You will have to wait until stock is replenished.

* Nick

p.s. Believe me. I do realize that you are disappointed that you were not able to order an iWatch. This sort of thing happens with a newly released product…especially if it's a long anticipated & popular product.

harryb2448
04-10-2015, 06:33 PM
Is it really that important this month or next month? Be aware US orders take priority.

dbm
04-10-2015, 09:59 PM
My point is this: it was easy to buy an iPhone 5, 5S and 6 on launch day. It was easy to buy an iPad Air on launch day.

If you want to tell me that Apple has sold more Apple Watches than iPhone 6 handsets on launch day then please produce the figures for that, as you put so much store in them?

Or accept that the supply of Apple Watches is radically less than the demand. Which is either a marketing move, or an indication of significant challenges in producing Apple Watches.

pigoo3
04-10-2015, 10:24 PM
My point is this: it was easy to buy an iPhone 5, 5S and 6 on launch day. It was easy to buy an iPad Air on launch day.


The problem is this is not true. As I stated earlier…not everyone that wants certain iPhone models can always get them on day one…and when the first iPad was released not everyone got one.

Short-supply is not always a problem with new Apple hardware releases (it's not nonexistent either). It does seem to happen more often with a brand NEW product (especially generation 1 new products)...like the iWatch.

This kind of thing happens.

- Nick

chscag
04-10-2015, 11:40 PM
LOL, T-Mobile still has at least a 4 week wait on orders of a new iPhone 6+. Sure, you can buy one for full price direct from Apple, but it's easier on the wallet paying by the month to T-Mobile. ;)

chas_m
04-11-2015, 06:39 AM
I do think Apple was surprised by stronger-than-expected demand. I think they knew they would do okay, but this is a brand new product ... as in COMPLETELY new product ... and thus no real way to foretell demand. They made their best guess ... and apparently came up short compared to what actually happened. Lots of companies would LOVE to have this problem.

My guess is that, despite a recent confirmation that its online orders only for now ... in maybe three weeks you WILL be able to walk into an Apple Store and come out with a Watch, but it will be the low-end ones and some of the middle-end ones that will be less constrained.

bobtomay
04-11-2015, 07:31 AM
LOL, T-Mobile still has at least a 4 week wait on orders of a new iPhone 6+. Sure, you can buy one for full price direct from Apple, but it's easier on the wallet paying by the month to T-Mobile. ;)

A couple of the iPhone 6+ models had a 2 month wait direct from Apple after the initial 3 day weekend when 10 million iPhones were sold.

Apple should have known they needed to make 20 million of them before they allowed anyone to purchase one.

Or just let all of them sit in the warehouse until every single order could be fulfilled.
Everyone that has bought an iPhone 6 might still be waiting for that first one to be shipped.

dbm
04-11-2015, 10:37 AM
For the number inclined:

Global launch of iPhone 6 was 4m units on day 1 (Macworld (http://www.macworld.com/article/2686209/record-broken-iphone-6-iphone-6-plus-sales-top-10-million-in-opening-weekend.html))

Worldwide sales of smart watches for the entirety of 2014 was 6.8m (Apple Insider (http://appleinsider.com/articles/15/02/25/just-68m-smartwatches-sold-in-2014-at-an-average-price-of-189))

So either Apple just sold 2/3 of the entire 2014 volume in 1 day or they had significantly less product available. You decide.

pigoo3
04-11-2015, 12:47 PM
The bottom line is. The Apple iWatch is NOT the first product Apple has launched that had less supply than demand (regardless of what the exact numbers are).

And just because someone logs onto the Apple website as early as humanly possible…still does not guarantee that an iWatch will be had. Too many other folks are thinking the EXACT SAME THING.

- Nick

dbm
04-11-2015, 01:49 PM
That wasn't actually the point of the thread...

The point was... is this an indication of supply limits? Is it a marketing ploy? Was it a failure to predict demand?

The most interesting aspect was watch availability going back from June to July, suggesting that in just a few hours they sold more than they could make in a month. When the iPhone 6 sold 4m on day 1 they had another 6m in reserve for days 2 and 3 (10m were sold in the first 3 days). There is clearly no reserve capacity when it comes to the watch.

MacInWin
04-11-2015, 02:04 PM
That wasn't actually the point of the thread...

The point was... is this an indication of supply limits? Is it a marketing ploy? Was it a failure to predict demand?

The most interesting aspect was watch availability going back from June to July, suggesting that in just a few hours they sold more than they could make in a month. When the iPhone 6 sold 4m on day 1 they had another 6m in reserve for days 2 and 3 (10m were sold in the first 3 days). There is clearly no reserve capacity when it comes to the watch.Not a valid assumption. You have ONE data point, sales on opening day. The fact that they sold more in one day than nearly 2/3rds of the entire industry in the previous year points to demand that nobody could have predicted. With iPhones, Apple had history so they could predict better. You cannot make the assumption that there is no reserve capacity to manufacture the watch. Reserve stock, yes, but not capacity to manufacture. I doubt anyone in Apple considered on day one opening up reserve manufacturing capacity based on one day sales. If sales continue at that pace and if delivery times keep moving out, then they will respond with reserve manufacturing capacity.

In fact, in the past Apple has been able to deliver earlier than the predicted date, so that may happen with the watch as well.

I cannot think of a way that this out of stock situation is a marketing ploy. I'm sure if Apple had them, they'd love to sell them.

vansmith
04-11-2015, 02:28 PM
With iPhones, Apple had history so they could predict better.I think this is key. With the original release of the iPhone, Apple had stock issues as well (see here (http://www.engadget.com/2007/07/03/can-apple-meet-iphone-demand/)) which, like the watch, was a new product. Fast forward to now and although Apple may still have issues with stocking the iPhone around launch time, they've gotten much better at predicting it. The watch is like the original iPhone - it's still new and there was no history to lean on in deciding how to stock and manufacture the device.

pigoo3
04-11-2015, 03:44 PM
That wasn't actually the point of the thread...

The point of the thread is/was…you didn't get an iWatch. If you had gotten an iWatch…you would not have started the thread.;)

Whether the UK was allocated 100 iWatch's or 25,000 it really doesn't matter...you didn't get one. And now you have to wait to get one like a lot of other people. I understand that you are disappointed. But arguing about decimal points or Apple conspiracies really isn't very productive…and is not going to change things.

If you understood how large companies work…you would understand the many dynamics that go into launching a new product. I've worked in research & development in the consumer products industry for the last 25 years. Rarely do you get to launch a brand new product under perfect conditions.

Many times compromises need to be made. And sometimes one compromise that needs to be made is launching a new product before enough inventory has been manufactured to supply the forecasted demand. Sometimes (because of market conditions & competition pressures) launching a new product sooner with less inventory…is better than waiting 3 or 6 more months and having more inventory.

If you wait too long…the competition will be releasing their version 2 or version 3…which could make Apple's version 1 look unattractive. Now you (Apple) has 20 million (or more) units sitting in warehouses that no one wants. That's a LOT of lost revenue!

There are lots of risks when launching a new product. The idea is to choose the least risky timeline.

- Nick

dbm
04-11-2015, 05:42 PM
You cannot make the assumption that there is no reserve capacity to manufacture the watch. Reserve stock, yes, but not capacity to manufacture.

Sorry - I meant stock, not production capacity.


I cannot think of a way that this out of stock situation is a marketing ploy. I'm sure if Apple had them, they'd love to sell them.

The most likely scenario to my mind is a limited rate of production on the saphire screens. We already know that there were major issues with Apples first partner on this (Link (http://thenextweb.com/apple/2014/11/20/apples-suppliers-repeatedly-made-mistakes-leading-sapphire-screen-iphone-6/))

lclev
04-11-2015, 06:30 PM
I do think Apple was surprised by stronger-than-expected demand. I think they knew they would do okay, but this is a brand new product ... as in COMPLETELY new product ... and thus no real way to foretell demand..... My guess is that, despite a recent confirmation that its online orders only for now ...

I agree the very newness of the product whips up all kinds of interest.

I do wonder if the "on-line only" ordering was done because they had no idea the level of demand so they wanted total control - for now - of orders and numbers needed.

Have any other new launch of an Apple product been on-line order only? I only ask because I have no idea - still having my newbie moments. ;)

Lisa

harryb2448
04-11-2015, 06:54 PM
Lisa online orders only is a great move by Apple, imho as a shareholder.

Saves paying commissions to Resellers world wide when demand is so great. Apart from placing your product in the market place at a price folk believe they can afford, creating a huge demand by the buyers is a healthy thing.

Everything hardware related Apple has released in recent times has created this demand. iPhones and even the late 2012 iMac had several months waiting lists when first released.

dbm
04-30-2015, 06:47 AM
More information is coming available as time goes on. It looks like there was a problem with one of the suppliers of Taptic engines: Mac Rumours (http://www.macrumors.com/2015/04/29/apple-watch-taptic-engine-bottlenecks/). The original article is behind a paywall.

Also, based on the Apple Watch forum over there not one 'space black' or regular link bracelet appears to have been delivered to customers at this point.

chas_m
04-30-2015, 10:45 PM
http://www.macnn.com/articles/15/04/29/apple.forced.to.scrap.finished.units.after.breakdo wn.tendency.revealed.in.testing.128409/

I am fairly sure I have seen pics of a Black Apple Watch in the wild. Might have been a review unit, however.

dbm
05-01-2015, 04:48 AM
I have seen review items under glass, too. But Manchester Trafford Centre (top 5 stores in the UK) didn't have any for try-on and very few people have been able to try one on even in the U.S. No customer orders have shipped for any link bracelet (big, small, silver, black) as of last night at least based on posters at MacRumours. And even a gold Edition watch has turned up there in the 'Show us your Watch' thread.

Luther Mac
05-18-2015, 08:31 PM
My point is this: it was easy to buy an iPhone 5, 5S and 6 on launch day. It was easy to buy an iPad Air on launch day.

If you want to tell me that Apple has sold more Apple Watches than iPhone 6 handsets on launch day then please produce the figures for that, as you put so much store in them?

Or accept that the supply of Apple Watches is radically less than the demand. Which is either a marketing move, or an indication of significant challenges in producing Apple Watches.

Im 100% with u on this. The whole experience is a turn off and a blunder.

I dont mind the lack of ability to buy the watch in person at a store. I actually like the strategy of selling online only.

But this was supposed to make supplying demand easier as each store wouldnt be sitting on inventory that they mis-judged for particular markets.

I think it's safe to say that Apple knew that this would be a problem and that is why they didnt have in-store inventory. They werent trying to prevent a bad situation, they were trying to make the best out of a bad situation. They knew they wouldnt meet demand yet they still had some pressure to get the product out.

2+ month wait times is unacceptable. Save the rhetoric or excuses.

dbm
05-19-2015, 02:26 PM
From what we have since learned around problems with Taptic units and (apparently) over exuberant celebrations for the Chinese New Year (did no one have a calendar?) there have been problems with supply.

I understand (and think we agree) that the comparatively huge range of variation in Watches vs other apple products means that this launch could only be done by internet pre-order. If they just stocked all the stores with the same product mix things would definitely end up imbalanced. The confusing bit is why there wasn't a bigger stock of some units at launch? Not one Space Black was sold anywhere in the world on launch day. This implies that they are making the watch to order. This is understandable in some ways (like you have to special order some configurations on Macs and so on) but you would think they would have confidence in selling a thousand in the first month or so and so have a stock built up?

Hopefully the facts will come out through analyst and stockholder briefings in time.

Luther Mac
05-19-2015, 03:30 PM
From what we have since learned around problems with Taptic units and (apparently) over exuberant celebrations for the Chinese New Year (did no one have a calendar?) there have been problems with supply.

I understand (and think we agree) that the comparatively huge range of variation in Watches vs other apple products means that this launch could only be done by internet pre-order. If they just stocked all the stores with the same product mix things would definitely end up imbalanced. The confusing bit is why there wasn't a bigger stock of some units at launch? Not one Space Black was sold anywhere in the world on launch day. This implies that they are making the watch to order. This is understandable in some ways (like you have to special order some configurations on Macs and so on) but you would think they would have confidence in selling a thousand in the first month or so and so have a stock built up?

Hopefully the facts will come out through analyst and stockholder briefings in time.

Well put.

U know, had they told me my watch would be "made to order" from the start, I might have taken less of an issue with this whole ordeal. But then again, like u said, they couldnt have just made 1000 of them so they have SOME stock?

I dont expect any help from the stockholder briefing. I think the rush to market had everything to do with appeasing stockholders. They'll be trumpeting their future revenue since their are so many watch customers in que waiting for the damn things to ship. And everyone will clap and declare the launch a success.

dbm
05-19-2015, 06:03 PM
The latest news is that Tim Cook has told staff in China that in-store sales will start in June, so I remain hopeful that they will have processed at least the launch-day orders by that point.

A friend who ordered a Space Grey Sport and originally had June as her estimate has just received a shipping notification.