Apple Watch Series 7 sold out in minutes

From Joe Maring’s “Apple Watch Series 7 Facing Massive Delays Minutes After Pre-Orders Go Live” posted Friday on ScreenRant:

Pre-orders for the Apple Watch Series 7 are now live, but unless someone got their pre-order in exactly when 8:00 AM ET rolled around, there’s a very good chance most orders are already delayed by multiple weeks. It’s always an exciting time whenever a new Apple gadget comes out. Apple unveils its latest product, people wait for pre-orders to open, and it’s a mad rush (virtually and in stores) to be among the first with the latest Apple hardware.

With the Apple Watch Series 7, things feel a bit different. There’s no doubt it’s a capable smartwatch, but compared to previous generations, it’s an extremely minor upgrade. It looks similar to past Apple Watches, it has the same health features as its predecessor, there’s no change to battery life, and the ‘new’ S7 chipset appears to be nearly identical to last year’s. It also doesn’t help that the final product looks completely different from the tantalizing leaks popping up everywhere months before. The Apple Watch Series 7 is a decent upgrade for folks with older Apple Watches, but it clearly lacks much of the excitement previous models have come with.

That’s why the pre-order experience has been so interesting. After announcing the Apple Watch Series 7 on September 14, Apple didn’t open pre-orders until today, October 8. Anyone who pre-ordered right at 5:00 PT/8:00 ET got the earliest shipment date of October 15 — the day the Series 7 goes on sale. Within just minutes of pre-orders going live, folks were quick to point out surprisingly late shipping estimates. Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech says he ordered an Apple Watch Series 7 “5 minutes after pre-orders went live” and got a delivery window of November 1 – November 8. This writer ordered a Nike variant of the Series 7 around 8:12 ET and got a shipment date of October 26 – October 28. Visiting Apple’s website and looking at different Series 7 configurations a couple of hours from pre-orders opening, shipments are now delayed as far back as November 23 in some cases. This can vary dramatically between different models, but the fact remains that it’ll now take a long time to get your hands on the newest Apple Watch.

My take: As usual with these things, it’s impossible to separate supply from demand. But the Street usually interprets long lead times as a good thing.

11 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    When, historically, you sell a boat load, then the new models immediately go into back order mode, you have to assume it’s a demand thing.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    6
    October 10, 2021
  2. Rick Povich said:
    I ordered a midnight aluminium with GPS/cellular at 8:05 am (I guess I beat Jon Prosser by a few seconds) and got a delivery date of Oct 15 – Nov 1. Try to order the same watch today and the delivery date is out to Nov 16 -Nov 23. I’m with Gregg 😉

    1
    October 10, 2021
  3. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    I acquire a new iPhone every year and a new Apple Watch almost as frequently. They arrive when they arrive. It’s not as if the Apple devices I’m using at the time of pre-order all of a sudden become old and awful. It’s among the reasons I choose to buy Apple products – high quality, high functionality and remain highly useful for years, often for second or third owners.

    5
    October 10, 2021
  4. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Supply or demand doesn’t matter.

    Desire + Scarcity = Excitement.

    Excitement = Good for Apple.

    4
    October 10, 2021
    • Rodney Avilla said:
      “Supply or demand doesn’t matter.”

      It may not matter now, as it does generate excitement for Apple. But it will matter in Jan 2022. If it’s due to supply, then the revenue numbers will be lower, and WS will not like it. If it’s due to demand (which is where I am), then the numbers will be higher, and hopefully WS will react accordingly. Although there is no guarantee, as what happened this year for 3 quarters in a row.

      0
      October 10, 2021
  5. Fred Stein said:
    Once again, we read, “but compared to previous generations, it’s an extremely minor upgrade”

    The rejoinder is, “but compared to the entire installed base, there’s a lot to motivate users.”

    And people love screen upgrades.

    3
    October 10, 2021
  6. Daniel Epstein said:
    Reporters who cover Apple seem to resort to the good news bad news description so they are seen as fair judges of the news instead of fanboy’s boosting Apple’s sales. It is annoying when the critique is a non sequitur of the initial subject. Even if it is a minor upgrade the real question they are looking at is supply issues versus demand issues. Since they don’t know the answer of either side of the equation they assume that the supply bottlenecks problems are more important than the demand as they think everyone already has the watch they want and Apple is somehow inept at delivering large quantities of product. I want to buy a new watch and now it looks like I will not get it until late November. Such is life.

    1
    October 10, 2021
  7. Bart Yee said:
    According the Counterpoint Research, the Apple Watch user base crossed 100M in Q2 2021. Apple Watch had 28% of total shipments in Q2, the slowest quarter of the last annual cycle. Predictably, Apple Watch shipment share increases to 38-40% in launch quarters CYQ4 and oscillates in past years around 33% to a minimum of 21% in 2018 Q3. But since then, the minimum has risen to 28% even in the face of a rapidly expanding shipment market, meaning a larger slice of a larger pie overall.

    Apple Watch upgrade time trends have not been fully elucidated yet as users decide if upgrading a Watch is similar to upgrading a smartphone. What we do know is given a 100M Watch user base / by 1.1B iPhone user base, roughly 9% of iPhone users own an Apple Watch. If we assume a slightly longer upgrade cycle of 4 years, that means those with the Apple Watch Series 3 and older are ripe for upgrading and would see the Apple Watch 7 as sufficiently advanced to do so (failing batteries would also push upgrading).

    If we assume the upgrade population to be roughly 9% of the iPhone upgrade population of similar aged devices, that’s roughly 9% of 250M or 22.5M devices, maybe tacking on 1.5M-2.5M for new owners, suggesting upwards of 25M units per year. At an ASP ~$450 (including Watch SE), that’s $11.25B annual revenue, not including accessory bands (350-500M) and AppleCare ($79 x 20M = $1.6B) services which could round up to $13-13.5B total.

    Not bad for 7 years development and iteration of the Apple Watch, ~5% of total revenues.

    2
    October 10, 2021

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