The Apple Watch sold out almost immediately earlier today, making good on a promise by the company's head of retail that supply would not be sufficient at the start.
Ship times for the low-end Sport and mid-range Watch editions shifted to between four and six weeks within minutes of pre-order opening. Several hours later, all Sport models slipped straight to simply "June," the wide window that the highest-priced wearable, the 18-karat Edition, also showed as a delivery date.
One Computerworld staffer processed an online order just minutes after the Apple online store opened at 12:01 a.m. PT (3:01 a.m. ET), and was told that the Sport model would be delivered between May 13 and May 27.
As is often the case on the first day of sales of a new Apple product, the Cupertino, Calif. company's online store was not rendering in a browser earlier today, likely because of large numbers of customers trying to get in all at once. The Computerworld staffer used the iOS Apple Store app on an iPhone to place the order.
It was impossible to say whether the long lead times were the result of an extremely short supply or an impressive number of orders. Apple may provide more information at its quarterly earnings call with Wall Street on April 27.
Angela Ahrendts, chief of Apple's retail and online sales, said yesterday that supplies would be tight, but spun that as indicative of wide interest as well as small inventories. "We expect that strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch," Ahrendts said, marking the first time the firm has announced in a press release before a product launch that supplies would fall short.
Apple Watch orders are being taken only online, another unprecedented move by the company. Customers who want to actually try on a Watch -- not just look at them under glass -- must make appointments at an Apple retail store. As reported earlier, those appointments are in 15-min. increments, the time allowed by Apple for a fitting and a quick explanation of the device's features and functions.
Apple will begin selling the Watch in its stores on April 24, also the earliest delivery date for those who jumped on an online order straight away.
Almost lost in the hubbub about the Watch, the 12-in. Retina-equipped MacBook also went on sale today. The minimalist laptop starts at $1,299 and, in another first, comes in the same three tints as the iPhone and iPad.
The silver and space-gray models of the MacBook showed ship dates of between one and three business days, but the gold-colored laptop was delayed three to four weeks.