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Apple Watch launch “somewhat botched,” UBS says

by Todd Haselton | May 1, 2015May 1, 2015 2:00 pm PDT

The Apple Watch launched in late April, more than six months after it was introduced in September of last year. The launch has been unlike any other Apple has held. Products aren’t widely available, you can’t buy the Apple Watch in stores, and delivery estimates are months from now. Investment bank UBS thinks the whole thing was “somewhat botched.”

In a note to investors recently, UBS analyst Steve Milunovich explained that Apple can still easily recover from the launch, but that there are a few factors that made the launch rougher than it should have been.

“Apple has somewhat botched the Watch introduction,” Milunovich said. “First ‘early’ in the year was defined to include April. Then supply issues pushed back availability for most early buyers. The buzz has been reduced by requiring appointments and by the inability for now to take Watches home from Apple stores. However, Apple is right to go slowly as the Watch represents a new category. Word of mouth will be important, so training users is needed.”

Milunovich said that he believes the Apple Watch is in its “first inning,” and said that UBS is still bullish on Apple’s new wearable, and points to issues with earlier launches, like “antennagate” with the iPhone 4, as examples where Apple has stepped up and improved in the past.

Overall, though, the analyst found that interest in the Apple Watch hasn’t been as great as it was for products like the iPad when it first launched. Maybe that will change as the device becomes more widely available.

Barron's

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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