Apple has asked its suppliers in Asia to make 5-6 million units of its Apple Watch during the first quarter, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. The smartwatch is expected to launch in April, in three versions. 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, the report 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, one source told the paper. The Apple Watch Sport will start at USD 349; Apple hasn’t announced pricing for the other models.
The report suggests that Apple expects demand for its watch to outpace similar products on the market. Market researcher Canalys recently said that just 720,000 smartwatches powered by Google’s Android Wear shipped in the last six months of 2014. Taiwan-based Quanta Computer is among the producers of the Apple Watch.
According to an earlier report from the WSJ, Apple has dropped a number of the health and fitness features earlier expected in its watch. People familiar with the matter said that features such as measuring blood pressure, heart activity and stress levels proved too complicated to work reliably or were dropped due to complex regulatory requirements.