According to a new report published this morning, Apple has asked its suppliers in Asia to make a combined five to six million units of its three Apple Watch models during the first quarter ahead of the product's release in April, according to the Wall Street Journal. That sounds ultra conservative considering the estimates of how many are expected to be sold. It would strongly suggest that many of the units will be limited for each Apple Store on launch day and that could cause long lines and possibly a lot of frustration. Then again, it's a new product category and Apple is likely playing it safe to see what models will move initially over others before cranking up the volume.
Half of the first-quarter production order is earmarked for the entry-level Apple Watch Sport model, while the mid-tied Apple Watch is expected to account for one-third of output, one of these people said.
Orders for Apple Watch Edition – the high-end model featuring 18-karat gold casing – are relatively small in the first quarter but Apple plans to start producing more than one million units per month in the second quarter, the person said. Analysts expect demand for the high-end watches to be strong in China where Apple's sales are booming. Apple hasn't announced the pricing for Apple Watch Edition which is expected to be among the most expensive products the company has ever sold.
The Wall Street Journal noted that Taiwan-based Quanta Computer, the sole assembler of Apple Watch, started mass production of the new gadget earlier this year. To get ready for the April launch, thousands of Chinese workers will continue to work round the clock during the Chinese New Year holidays at Quanta's factory in Changshu, China, said one person. As we noted earlier today, LG is the sole supplier for Apple Watch displays.