Apple's retail chief admits that the Apple Watch launch didn't go as planned
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French Apple news site iGen.fr obtained a memo sent by Angela Ahrendts to employees that goes into detail on the status of Apple Watch orders. In the email, she says that "customers who pre-ordered will start receiving deliveries next Friday as planned."
Ahrendts also says that people still won't be able to walk into an Apple Store and buy an Apple Watch - and that's going to continue throughout May. A previous memo explained that initial orders for the Apple Watch would only take place online, stopping people queueing up outside stores to buy them.
But Ahrendts hints that Apple will return to its old way of launching products: "Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No. We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days-and there will be many more to come. They're the moments where you, our teams, shine. And our customers love them as well!"
One way to think about the launch of the Apple Watch is that the launch was if anything, too successful, and that Apple underestimated the number of people who wanted one.
But another way of thinking about the Apple Watch launch is that it didn't go anywhere near as smoothly as Apple planned. Ordering online and trying on the watch in stores was meant to be a smooth, easy ordering process. Instead, the shipping date for many models of Apple Watch has been delayed until June. Apple even removed the April 24 availability date from the Apple Watch page on its website, signalling that there are major delays with shipping the device.
Here's the memo in full:
On behalf of Tim and the rest of the executive team, I want to thank you very much for making last Friday's debut of Apple Watch unforgettable. The Previews going on in our stores and support from our Contact Centers are unlike anything we have done before.
The feedback from customers is overwhelmingly positive. They are excited about Apple Watch, and your teams are creating fantastic experiences for them. Customers who pre-ordered will start receiving deliveries next Friday as planned, and I know you will do a great job helping them get set up.
Many of you have been getting questions asking if we will have the watch available in stores on April 24 for walk-in purchases. As we announced last week, due to high global interest combined with our initial supply, we are only taking orders online right now. I'll have more updates as we get closer to in-store availability, but we expect this to continue through the month of May. It has not been an easy decision, and I want to share with you the thinking behind it.
It's important to remember that Apple Watch is not just a new product but an entirely new category for us. There's never been anything quite like it. To deliver the kind of service our customers have come to expect-and that we expect from ourselves-we designed a completely new approach. That's why, for the first time, we are previewing a new product in our stores before it has started shipping.
Apple Watch is also our most personal product yet, with multiple case and band options because it's an object of self-expression. Given the high interest and initial supply at launch, we will be able to get customers the model they want earlier and faster by taking orders online.
I know this is a different experience for our customers, and a change for you as well. Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No. We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days-and there will be many more to come. They're the moments where you, our teams, shine. And our customers love them as well!
Apple Watch is an exciting new product and we are at the start of a very exciting time at Apple. You're the best team on earth and you are doing an amazing job.
For customers who want to buy a watch, please continue to help them place their order online. Also make sure they know that, wherever they buy, Apple will provide them with a great Personal Setup experience - either online or in our stores. This includes syncing their Apple Watch with their iPhone and teaching them about all the incredible features of their new Apple Watch.
Thank you very much again, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
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