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The curious case of the fake Apple Watch release date

Published Apr 10th, 2015 9:30AM EDT
Apple Watch Release Date Retail Stores
Image: Apple Inc.

Ask Apple and anyone familiar with its Apple Watch launch plans and they’ll tell you the device is available for preorder beginning April 10th. Then, it should start selling in stores on April 24th. Only this time around, unlike any other highly prized Apple device, that initial release date following preorders is very misleading. In fact, it’s looking more and more like a fake release date.

DON’T MISS: Yes, the Apple Watch is already sold out

Good luck buying an Apple Watch on its “launch date.” It’s not even clear when the device will be available to purchase for regular Apple customers who walk into Apple stores looking to buy a Watch.

April 24th represents a point in time when the first Apple Watch units might be shipped to very early buyers who managed to get their orders in at 3:01 a.m. – it’s not clear how many people purchased Apple Watches at this time, but chances are a good number of Apple fans got one.

But for the moment, that’s about it. April 24th is not a true launch date. The Watch won’t be available in stores in the first launch wave countries on the day Apple says the device is supposed to launch. Making matters worse is the fact that most models showed shipping times later than April 24th the moment they became available in the early hours this morning.

Sure, you can walk into an Apple retail store right now, provided you schedule an appointment, and try your chosen Watch models. But you won’t be able to go into an Apple store on a whim two weeks from now and purchase a device just like you might do with any other Apple gadget including iPhone, iPad or MacBook on their respective launch dates.

And Apple isn’t saying when there will be enough stock to go around.

Apple must obviously be battling some serious supply challenges, which will severely limit the number of Apple Watch units on hand at launch.

Another issue is the fact that, unlike other Apple products, the Apple Watch is highly customizable when it comes to size, material, and strap choices. The more choices the buyer has, the more complicated it is for a store to make sure it has enough inventory to meet demand, especially if demand is as high as Apple anticipated it to be, and especially if there are supply issues the public isn’t aware of.

These reasons would certainly explain Apple’s need to prevent people from lining in front of its stores with anticipation ahead of the Apple Watch launch. The company doesn’t want to see any bad publicity resulting from fans lining up in front of stores who won’t get to buy the device in those stores on April 24th.

But then, why make April 24th the official launch date for the Apple Watch anyway? Why not make it sometime in June? As it turns out, that’s when many people will get their units anyway.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.