Apple Watch pre-orders explode, as wait times drag into June

On Friday, Apple started accepting pre-orders for the Apple Watch. Seems consumers have been dropping a pretty penny for the wearable.

Eric Risberg/AP/File
A woman holds the Apple Watch Edition during a demo following an Apple event in San Francisco. Apple products generally hold their value well, but with a brand new category and huge price range, the Apple Watch's resale value could be unpredictable.

After a five-year wait for the next big Apple device, it seems customers were hungry. On Friday, April 10, the Apple Watch was made available for pre-order, and the virtual shelves were empty in the blink of an eye.

Within six hours, the new product was no longer available for a April 24 delivery date. Now, anyone who orders any of the Apple Watch models will have to wait four to six weeks for their smart watch to be shipped.

Even the $10,000 to $17,000 price tag for the Apple Watch Edition will not buy you a ticket to the front of the line – Apple's highest-priced model also managed to sell out. In fact, Edition watch buyers may have to wait until August to get a glimpse at their pricy timepiece.

Apple confirmed it expected sales to exceed supply before the launch, but gave no explanation for the sluggish delivery times. Some suggest manufacturing delays are to blame, but critics feel it was part of a plan to create artificial hype around the product.

According to Slice Intelligence, a projected 957,000 people in the US pre-ordered an Apple Watch on Friday. Individuals bought an estimated 1.3 smart watches per household and dropped around $504 per unit. 

As expected, the Apple Watch Sport was the most popular model with its base $349 price tag, which was picked up by 62 percent of consumers at an average of $383 a pop. Anyone who had a few extra bucks for the middle-tier Apple Watch ended up paying on average about $707 per device.

While all prospective Apple Watch buyers will be forced to wait for their wearable tech, there are a few tricks to cut down on the wait time, but few are likely to be thrilled about how.

As reported by ZDNet, the shipping date for a watch will extend depending on its popularity. For example, the 38mm Apple Watch Sport in “space gray” with a black sports band (the most popular band for all models) will likely take the full six weeks to ship out. But ordering the less popular green rubber band with the 42mm face in silver may shave off some of the wait time.

But no matter how desperate you are to get your hands on Apple’s latest product, it is best not to turn to third-party sellers. As reported by Lifehacker, there are currently 400 "pre-order watches" selling on eBay right now. Besides the fact that the Apple Watches are fetching up to double the asking rates, there is also no way to guarantee a safe, headache-free purchase. 

Pre-orders are strongly tied to Apple IDs and credit card numbers, so if a vendor were to change the shipping address or ID details after selling the pre-order to someone, there is the potential for a buyer to be scammed out of the expensive device. Since Apple is not the vendor selling the watch, it would be up to the individual to work with eBay’s selling policies and track down the seller for non-delivery.

So be smart and be quick. Unless Apple is hoarding its smart watch like De Beer Halts hoarded diamonds, it may be difficult for the company to keep up with the initial demand for the Apple Watch.

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