Apple’s normal distribution plan is to release a product with a great fanfare, create a shortage and above all encourage fanboys to queue up to give the television cameras a story which makes the product look popular.
This is not happening with the iWatch. The company has not revealed how many orders it has received in the run-up to the April 24 launch, a contrast to previous launches of iPhones and iPads. And Apple stores will not have any watches to sell.
What this means is that the pre-orders were probably not as high as has been claimed and Apple could not guarantee that the watch would create the lines snaking around stores.
What this could mean is that despite the hype, the iWatch is not going to do as well as expected. This would be a surprise to many in the IT press because it would mean that customers had suddenly developed common sense when it came to Apple products. This version of the iWatch is coming with little in the way of functionality and will require a battery change every 12 hours.
Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, who normally praises anything Apple does did his best to put some pro-Apple spin on the news/
“The smaller launch can allow them to see how it goes and it does remove some of the line expectation and risk. If they did it the old way and the lines weren’t good, that’s a bit of a problem.”
Munster still predicts more than 2 million watches will be sold in the quarter ending in June. FBR Capital Markets senior analyst Daniel Ives raised his 2015 estimate to 20 million from 17 million, based in part on online order backlogs.
Ives claims that it was not that the iWatches would sell badly but because Apple faces the question of whether confused consumers will swamp Apple Stores.
Perhaps a greater problem with Apple’s iWatch is that many consumers will release they have bought a nice looking chocolate teapot when they get it home and will vow never to buy something just because it has an Apple logo on it ever again.