As Apple Watch preorders began on April 10, it quickly became clear that demand would far outstrip supply for quite a while after the first watches became available to consumers on April 24.
That certainly has been the case, as most models of the Apple Watch are now listed on the Apple Website as being available only after four- to eight-week delivery windows, according to a perusal of the site.
The strong preorders and the quick demise of fast-shipping units has some Wall Street analysts predicting that Apple will soon be pumping up production figures for the new smartwatches so that the company can catch up with the orders, according to an April 13 report by Reuters.
"Based on our observations and media reports, launch day supply was largely sold out within the first 10 to 30 minutes, depending on model," Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in a client note, according to Reuters. Munster told the news agency that he expects Apple to sell 2.3 million watches in the April-June quarter and that he expects Apple to ramp production between mid-May and June.
Analysts with Pacific Crest told Reuters that they believe that "Apple appeared to be ordering components for the watch that would allow it to build well over 20 million watches this year."
Meanwhile, digital commerce research firm Slice Intelligence reported on April 12 that its consumer survey data showed that Apple took about 957,000 preorders for Apple Watches on the first day that orders were being taken. Online buyers who placed their preorders spent an average of $503.83 per Apple Watch, with shoppers preordering the less-expensive Sport model and spending about $382.83 per watch, according to Slice Intelligence. Buyers of the standard Apple Watch spent about $707.04 per watch, according to the data.
About 62 percent of preorder buyers ordered the less-expensive Sport model, the data confirmed. Most buyers across the range opted for larger 42mm cases, while the most popular type of case was the space-gray aluminum case, which was chosen by 40 percent of Apple Watch buyers, according to the figures.
The smartwatch, which opened for preorders on April 10, starts at $349 for the Apple Watch Sport version, which is available with a silver or space-gray aluminum body and with wristbands in many colors.
The standard Apple Watch starts at $549 for a 38mm-wide version or $599 for a 42mm-wide model. Prices for the 38mm version can rise up to $1,049, while prices for the 42mm model can go up to $1,099, depending on the watchband selected. The regular Apple Watch can be purchased with a fluoroelastomer band or one of three different leather bands.
The company's luxury version of the Apple Watch is the Apple Watch Edition, with a price tag of $10,000. The most expensive version of the Apple Watch, the 18-karat gold Edition version, is priced at $17,000.
The smartwatch marketplace is getting more crowded as more device makers build and market their own styles of watches. LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Apple and Huawei are among the vendors today selling smartwatches, and that field is likely to continue to grow.
While Apple Watches are now on display inside Apple stores, customers have to sign up for appointments ahead of time so they can see the devices, try them on, and test out their functions and features. The first Apple Watches will be sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the United Kingdom, and sales in more nations are expected in the future.
The new watches are accurate to within 50 milliseconds of the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) standard, placing them among the world's most accurate time pieces. The Apple Watch can be customized by users with a wide range of watch faces, from formal to modern to digital and even to Mickey Mouse images.
Users can then add the features they desire on the watch faces, including the date, a stopwatch, upcoming meetings and more. Also part of the Apple Watch is a feature called "glances," which brings the information that users want to check often and quickly right to the watch face, so they can see what's needed at just the right time, including music, heart rate, messages and more. In fact, the Apple Watch will be equipped to receive messages right on the user's wrist and allow them to respond using a tap. The built-in speaker and microphone on the Apple Watch will also allow them to receive calls.