Your patience is a thing of the past. You want an Apple Watch ASAP and haven’t placed an order yet. But the news isn’t pretty: The soonest you’ll get one from Apple’s online store is 4-6 weeks. And that’s only for a few models; check out my guide to all Apple Watch models, pricing, and shipping. The majority won’t ship until June, with some trickling out in July.
According to The Wall Street Journal, here’s one reason for the backlog:
“A key component of the Apple Watch made by one of two suppliers was found to be defective, prompting Apple Inc. to limit the availability of the highly anticipated new product, according to people familiar with the matter.
“The part involved is the so-called taptic engine, designed by Apple to produce the sensation of being tapped on the wrist. After mass production began in February, reliability testing revealed that some taptic engines supplied by AAC Technologies Holdings Inc., of Shenzhen, China, started to break down over time, the people familiar with the matter said. One of those people said Apple scrapped some completed watches as a result.”
Assuming you don’t want to wait until June, what are your options?
* Visit an Apple Store in late May and hope for the best. Also from the WSJ: “In a memo to retail-store employees earlier this month, Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts said stores won’t get watches to sell until the end of May because of ‘high global interest combined with our initial supply.'”
* Stalk the few non-Apple stores selling Apple Watches. Business Insider reported last last week that Maxfield’s, on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, was the only store in the U.S. actually selling Apple Watches. Outside our borders, Apple Watch has been selling at a handful of high-end boutiques including Dover Street Market, London and Tokyo; Colette, Paris; and The Corner, Berlin.
* Order on eBay. Economics students looking for a real-time example of supply vs. demand should do an eBay search on “Apple Watch.” You’ll find no shortage of watches to bid on or buy now, often priced $250 to $500 above Apple’s asking price. But if you have to have an Apple Watch ASAP, you really don’t have any other (legal) option.
In the screenshots above are two successfully completed eBay auctions. Both Apple Watch Sport models cost $350 from Apple but sold for $560 on eBay. This is a deal, compared to some of the other markups I saw.
If you go the eBay route, a few tips:
* Make sure the seller has the watch in his or her possession. Look for “in hand” or “on hand.” Believe it or not, some are selling Apple Watches they haven’t even received yet.
* Check the seller’s rating. Avoid buying from anyone with a less-than-stellar score.
* If the seller offers ‘free shipping,’ it’s probably 3-5 business day delivery. But you want this thing NOW. Ask the seller if he or she will upgrade to overnight shipment. Offer to pay the difference between the upgraded shipment and what the seller would have paid for regular shipping. The seller may tell you no, because the shipment costs are already rolled into the auction and it would be too complicated to unroll it. Often to send the seller a PayPal payment for the difference. Tip: If you treat the payment as a gift, neither of you have to pay PayPal’s fee.
BTW, I’m speaking about eBay here from personal experience. While awaiting news of the Apple Watch I ordered back on April 10, I caved and bought a different model (at a $200 markup) on eBay. More on this is a future post.