Suppliers Readying 5M Apple Watch Units
According to a new report on the WSJ Digits blog, Apple has commissioned its Asian manufacturing partners to prepare 5 million Apple Watch units for the company’s initial wearable push starting this April. While details on the pricing of the higher end versions of the Watch are still sketchy, these numbers seem to indicate Apple’s confidence in the new product.
The report cites “people familiar with the matter,” who say that half of that 5 million order will be for the most modestly priced version of the Watch, known as the Apple Watch Sport. With a retail price of $349, the Sport will be made of “lightweight anodized aluminum,” and will come with a “fluoroelastomer” watchband. Meanwhile, even at the device line’s lowest price point, the Apple Watch Sport will still be more expensive than even the flashiest Android Wear smartwatches released so far.
That still leaves 2.5 million units of the plainly titled Apple Watch – featuring a stainless steel body rather than aluminum, and coming with a variety of band styles – and the luxury minded Apple Watch Edition, made of 18 karat gold. The mid-tier Apple Watch is said to make up one-third of the 5 million unit shipment, translating to roughly 1.6 million units, with an unknown price. That leaves another 900,000 Apple Watch Edition units, which could fetch for more than $4,000 apiece, the report adds.
Will Apple be able to sell all 5 million Apple Watches during that first production run? For answers, look no further than the news from a couple weeks ago about Apple’s record breaking profits last quarter. We learned that Apple sold a whopping 74.5 million iPhones during that period. If only 7 percent of those iPhone owners buy the Apple Watch, the entire production run will sell out. And that’s not even taking into account people who already owned compatible iPhones. In short, that 5 million unit order may prove to be awfully small when the device’s April debut rolls around. If you want an Apple Watch, you better prepare to wait in line.
Meanwhile, Canalys revealed last week that a mere 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped in 2014. Android Wear, you may recall, launched last summer, meaning that even with a half-year head start, Google’s wearable platform couldn’t even manage to crack the million-unit mark. In the meantime, news continues to roll out that Google’s hardware partners are pursuing other wearable operating systems. It looks like Google’s going to have a tough year ahead of it if it hopes to provide a unified front to compete with the Apple Watch.
[Source: WSJ Digits]