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Many Apple Watch Ship Times Extend Through June

Apple quickly sold through the supply it had ready to ship immediately; it's unclear how many it had ready for initial delivery.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

If you haven’t already ordered an Apple Watch online, you are probably going to have to wait a while to get one.

The watch went on sale in the U.S. just after midnight PT. Within an hour, some models were already seeing their lead time stretch until June, with only a few versions shipping sooner than four to six weeks.

While some may rush to declare Apple Watch a success, that conclusion could be dangerous without knowing just how many of the precious wearables Apple made available for preorder. The company is juggling limited supply as well as a need to have models in store, both as demo units and to allow some measure of in-store sales.

Apple always gets an initial boost with sales of a new product. The key is usually how a product does once the first wave of enthusiasts have snapped theirs up. This will be particularly important for the watch, given that its entire potential customer base consists of those who own an iPhone 5 or newer.

“The start of Apple Watch preorders was typical Apple,” BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said in a research note on Friday. “Expected delivery dates were pushed out for the most popular models within five minutes and within the hour only a few models remained available for a launch day delivery.”

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said the rapidly extending ship times suggests more about limited supply than it does about demand.

“We believe that the current stable lead times suggests that supply was the main limiting factor in this morning’s sell out as if demand were extremely strong, it would seem that lead-times would continue to increase,” Munster said.

Piecyk issued the same note of caution on making too much of this. “It’s impossible to know whether the rapid pushout of delivery dates is meaningful to sales,” he wrote. “The appeal of the Apple Watch will become clearer when it starts populating among consumers and we see how the product is used.”

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