The Apple Watch will launch this Friday, although you wont actually be able to buy one of Apple’s new smart watches in their retail stores.
According to Carl Howe there is a reason for this, the Apple Watch is being built to order, and Apple has apparently done this in order to minimize the risks of building lots of Apple Watches that people wont buy.
When the device went up for pre-order, the launch day stock of the Apple Watch quickly disappeared within a few minutes and shipping times changed throughout the day and are currently showing as June if you order one now.
This was apparently done on purpose by Apple to minimize the risk of making devices that wouldn’t sell, instead they are building the exact devices that people have pre-ordered.
Customize Watch products at the last opportunity. Building huge inventories of all the models of watches and waiting for consumers to order them risks warehousing large quantities of unsold merchandise. That wastes capital. Instead, I believe Apple will build a smaller number of watches of each type for store and demo use and then do build-to-order final assembly of the actual cases and bands ordered.
The Apple Watch is slightly different than Apple’s other devices, for example with the iPhone 6 there are just 9 different versions of the device, with three different storage options and 3 different colors.
With the Apple Watch there are 38 different options of the device available, so able would have to make a lot of devices to ensure they had enough stock of each model, without knowing which models would be popular, this could have ended up being expensive for Apple.