Bloomberg: $10,000-Plus 18-Karat Gold Apple Watch Edition Sales Fizzled After Just Two Weeks
In a profile of Apple's operations chief Jeff Williams, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has revealed some interesting anecdotes about development of the Apple Watch, which Williams has reportedly overseen since 2013.
Months before the Apple Watch launched in 2015, for example, the report claims some employees testing the device began having allergic reactions to the type of nickel used in its casing, leading Williams to make the decision to scrap thousands of already-produced units and restart manufacturing with a different kind of nickel.
The amount of nickel eventually included in select Apple Watch models and bands falls below restrictions set by the European Union, according to Apple:
Apple Watch models with a stainless steel or an aluminum case, the stainless steel portions of some Apple Watch bands, the metallic portions of the Hermès bands, and the magnets in the watch and bands, each contain some nickel. However, they all fall below the strict nickel restrictions set by European REACH regulation. Therefore, while nickel exposure is unlikely to be a problem, you should be aware of the possibility in case you're susceptible to nickel-related reactions.
The report claims employees also noticed that the Apple Watch's Taptic Engine was prone to long-term failure from corrosion. In that case, Williams decided to give those few thousand watches to employees, according to Gurman.
As for the $10,000-plus, 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, the report claims Apple's sales were "in the low tens of thousands" of units, with "few after the first two weeks." The line was discontinued in September 2016 after just 16 months and, humorously, the gold models are now stuck on watchOS 4 and below.
Williams now oversees the development of all Apple hardware products, according to the report, and he is widely considered a frontrunner to succeed Tim Cook as CEO when the time comes — the two share similar backgrounds and mannerisms.