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Apple’s new Watch is in tight supply, leading to long wait times

October 8, 2021, 11:41 PM UTC

Apple began taking orders for its new smartwatch on Friday, but supply constraints mean that some consumers won’t get their hands on the product for nearly two months. 

The Apple Watch Series 7, which was unveiled in mid-September, became available for preorders at 8 a.m. New York time, with the product slated to reach stores on Oct. 15. Within minutes, it was difficult to get the watch delivered by that date. Customers ordering the stainless-steel models and other versions were told it wouldn’t arrive until November.

By afternoon, some stainless-steel models weren’t available until even later in November. And certain high-end models are constrained to the point that Apple listed them as “currently unavailable.” That includes an $899 model made from silver titanium with a leather band, as well as a black titanium one with a silicone band. Models made in partnership with Hermes are seeing shipments delayed until late November or early December. 

The Series 7 line, which comes in larger 41-millimeter and 45-millimeter sizes, has suffered production snags, Bloomberg reported in August. And when Apple didn’t initially give a release date at the watch’s unveiling last month, it renewed fears about manufacturing problems. Apple announced the Oct. 15 release earlier this week, but the current delivery delays suggest its supplies remain thin. 

The watch was unveiled alongside the iPhone 13, which went on sale last month. Shoppers still may be able to find some watches at stores when the Series 7 hits retailers in a week. Apple sometimes retains supply for brick-and-mortar outlets so that shelves aren’t empty at launch. 

The Apple Watch isn’t the only new product suffering constraints ahead of the holiday season. Shoppers ordering iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max models also are seeing shipping dates slip well into November. The same is true of new iPad mini models. Last year, Apple struggled with supply shortages for its AirPods Max headphones as well.

This holiday shopping season is a critical period for Apple. The company could generate almost $120 billion in the December quarter, analysts estimate, up 7% from a year earlier. 

Apple also has more aggressive promotions this year, which may be boosting demand. The company is offering as much as $270 for users trading in a last-generation Apple Watch, and wireless carriers such as T-Mobile US Inc. have rolled out deals that — in some cases — can cover the whole cost of a new iPhone. 

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