As part of September's 'Wish We Could Say More' event, Apple announced the iWatch is in the works and that a release date would soon be announced. Fast forward a couple of months, and now we know that the watch is slated to be released on 04/24/2015 with pre-orders due to open up on the 10th.
To drive-up hype surrounding the Watch, Apple has been careful to release limited information about the new product. At this point, we know very little about the electronic components and hardware that make up the model.
There are major drawbacks which accompany the launch of a new product line. With a pre-order period of only 14 days, it won't be easy to gauge consumer demand for the Apple iWatch, but based on the demand for counterfeit watches, International Business Times (IB Times) has already predicted that demand will be high. IB Times has seen counterfeits pop-up on Taobao - a site similar to Ebay - and all selling for well below the retail price of $349 and cheekily named AiWatch, UWatch or DWatch. Some are reportedly retailing for around $30, matching the Apple Watch's appearance and design but lacking in functionality.
The best example of a botched pre-ordering system is JawBone's UP3. Originally, the UP3 was supposed to be released by Christmas 2014. Pre-orders opened up on November 7th, and the estimated delivery date was set to 6-7 weeks after the pre-order.
Then the delivery was pushed back to 8-9 weeks.
Then to 10-11 weeks.
While JawBone has been tight-lipped about their failure to deliver an on-time product, there are speculations that it may because of a supply chain disruption.
With a pre-order period of just 14 days, Apple may face a similar issue.
At this point, tech watchers know very little about the actual hardware or the electronic components used to power the watch. Here's what we know so far:
The processor is the Apple S1. ChipWorks believes that BroadComm might have won the rights to provide WiFi chips for the watch's circuit board.
The screen is made of sapphire crystals. Compared to Gorilla Glass, the Sapphire screen is lighter, making it ideal for a wearable device.
The iWatch is not there to replace the iPhone or the iPad. It's an accessory that's lighter and more convenient than the iPhone or iPad.
While demand for the iWatch will be high, there is one problem that both Apple and Tim Cook have refused to address. Obsolescence. First generation Apple products are not reputed to perform well. Historically, demand has always been greater for the updated version, released a couple of years down the road, and which troubleshoots problem points from the earlier model. Any consumer looking to purchase the luxury $10,000 to $17,000 version should already have misgivings about the model, especially if it depreciates in value and can't be passed on as an heirloom.
If you are looking to avoid supply chain disruptions, check out a recent blog on this topic.
On a lighter note, here are some real-time tweets from companies having fun with the #AppleWatch hashtag on twitter.
Purchasing agents at major OEMs have had to deal with a shortage at some point in their career. It might have been a short-shipment or no shipment on the required date, leading to production shut-downs, missed delivery dates, and unhappy customers.
Worse, if your end-product is built to endure a long lifespan - say ten to twenty years - then your company has to account for end-of-life components and obsolescence. In this case, it makes sense to higher a last-time buyer for to manage EOL components and make sure that the build has enough replacements components in stock for repairs.
There are several steps you can take to avoid shortages or to deal with them if they are unavoidable. To find out more on this subject, download the free eBook, "TOP 5 FREE RESOURCES FOR PREVENTING ELECTRONIC COMPONENT SHORTAGES."
These sources were used to write this article: