Tim Cook Says Apple Watch Ships In April

The Apple Watch will start shipping in April to consumers, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who revealed that month as the expected target launch date for the company on Apple’s Q1 2015 earnings call. The timeframe for launch was described as “early 2015” when the Apple Watch was originally announced in September of last year.

The Apple Watch release date has been the subject of much speculation since its announcement, with recent reports pegging March as the month of its arrival. Cook’s decision to add some clarity to its actual release timeline is uncharacteristic for Apple, which normally doesn’t put a firm launch date on unreleased products, but pre-announcing the hardware months in advance was already a departure from standard practice.

Setting a more definite timeline for the Apple Watch does set expectations, however, ensuring that no one will be surprised when the wearable doesn’t appear in March as rumored. It also helps developers time their software releases correctly. Developers wanting to target the platform have so far depended upon using a virtual simulation of the wearable, and haven’t had any set deadline to work towards, so an announced April shipping target provides a clear goal to aim for.

Apple’s decision to pre-announce the Apple Watch was designed in part to get developers on board with the platform, so this helps set expectations in that regard. Its typical secrecy around product launches also isn’t necessary in this case, given that the Watch was pre-announced last year and expectations were already set for a general window.

“I’m using it every day, and love it, and I can’t live without it,” Cook said on the call, explaining his own excitement for the product. He also defended the April timeframe as within Apple’s defined “early 2014” range in response to an analyst question which implied Apple may have wanted to deliver it earlier.