Apple has allegedly slashed its initial order of Apple Watches in half, cutting the number of units from around 3 million to just 1.5 million, a new report out of Taiwan claims. As has previously been the case with Apple device launches, supplies of the new wearable are expected to be constrained due to manufacturing difficulties.
The problem seems to stem from Apple’s decision to switch to a new type of display for the watch. Those new AMOLED panels are being manufactured by LG, but the company is having trouble producing enough to keep up with demand. LG was originally expected to produce 5 million panels per month.
But maybe Apple isn’t cutting its supply. Maybe something else is afoot…
This report should be taken with a hefty (and potentially unhealthy) serving of salt. The original source of the story—the Economic Daily News—doesn’t have quite the shining track record that some other publications enjoy, and has previously made some pretty interesting (and dubious) claims about Apple’s manufacturing process.
Tim Cook is a supply chain guru. It makes sense that he would plan for contingencies like this, likely by ensuring other manufacturers could pick up the slack if necessary. While the initial order for LG parts may have been cut to account for low yield, Apple may be relying on another manufacturer (Samsung? Sharp? Others?) to produce displays to meet that 3 million unit order.
That being said, with so many people clamoring to get their hands on Apple’s first wearable, shoppers may want to plan for the possibility of limited availability regardless of how many devices the company is able to crank out.