Whoop Band 4.0: Bungled Launch, Masterstroke or on its way?

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Whoop Band 4.0: Where’s My Band?

First up, I haven’t got my upgrade yet and I’ve seen no pictures of anyone that has nor do I know of any influencers who have successfully jumped any queue. Yes, I tried and, no, I didn’t get anywhere 😉

Unless there is a serious software issue, which I very much doubt, then we can be pretty sure that the Whoop 4.0 bands are absolutely NOT in the USA right now BUT they might be on their way now albeit in reduced numbers (Edit: 11Oct some have been delivered)

So, Dude, Where’s My Stuff?

This recent JP Morgan post on Where’s My Stuff clearly shows that there are bottlenecks everywhere in the international supply chains, from simply loading and shipping a super-expensive container right through to finding dock space to unload it in the USA/EU.

And that’s not forgetting that it takes about 25 days to get finished good shipped by sea from China to the West Coast USA. Yep, Whoop is made in China.

Even if lorries full of Whoop’s are leaving the factory today it’s going to take the best part of a month to load them, ship them, unload them, address them, and send them to you.

As you can see from your Whoop Order Status page, delivery times are currently 5-7 weeks.

If Whoop ships by air to the USA (or EU direct) then lots of shipping problems are solved. However it’s not obvious that air freight will be used as Whoop will be ordering many, many tens of thousands of units for existing customers. That’s a lot of space and space is much more expensive on a plane than on a boat.

So, to answer my question.

A: Dude. Your stuff is probably still in the factory (in China)

Customer Service

Whoop has clearly been overwhelmed with customer service queries about the 4.0 launch from the likes of you and me. To be fair to them most companies would struggle but from some chats this week, I’d say response times are now back to Whoop’s normally good levels.

I’ve also read some Reddit comments about new customers’ cards being charged. Now, this shouldn’t happen, at least from a moral perspective it shouldn’t. If you currently do not have a Whoop 3 or 4 band through no fault of your own then your credit card shouldn’t be charged until your Whoop 4.0 ships. At least that’s my opinion, those of you with a legal mind can chip in below.

The bottom line is that companies that quote a delivery of 4ish weeks for receipt at the end of September and then don’t deliver until November have some explaining to do. And there might be perfectly valid reasons, so let’s look at some of them.

whoop 3 review strap 2019 2020 reddit membership bicep

What’s Going On?

1. Something has gone wrong with the software development

I doubt this to be the case. The Whoop app is stable and mature, it seems ready for 4.0 as of today and almost any firmware issue with the band could be resolved in short order.

when is whoop shipping?
Order Now: You’ll still get it when everyone else does!

2. There is a supply problem

It could be the case that an electronic component, a hinge, or a strap was promised and then the subcontracted supplier reneged on their commitment for whatever reason. Stuff happens and if any single part of the Whoop 4.0 doesn’t arrive to be assembled then, clearly, the product can’t ship.

Whoop probably has been planning a September/October 2021 launch of new hardware for up to 2 years. Covid really has impacted manufacturing capabilities across the world and ‘only’ being out by one month from your original is perhaps not too bad.

3. There is a hardware fault

Hardware faults can be discovered late in the production process. Stuff happens. It’s not great but it happens. Ever heard of a car recall? Redesigning and remanufacturing a component will take WEEKS. Look at what seems to have happened with the Apple Watch 7. Probably a hardware issue exactly like this happened to the mighty Apple in August.

4. Whoop ran out of Band 3.0

This is a less generous explanation. If Whoop ran out of 3.0 bands they can’t ship anything and shouldn’t be taking anyone’s money as a new customer. That would make any accountant lose sleep as the best part of two months’ of new subscriptions are lost at a key time of the year. Perhaps this is a money-grabbing exercise? Again, I don’t think this is the case, Whoop has no shortage of cash and plenty of VC money in their bank accounts.

5. Whoop Want to pre-empt competitor launches

Perhaps Whoop was worried about customers procrastinating and deciding to instead get an Apple Watch 7, the rumoured high-end Fitbits or a shiney Garmin Venu 2 LTE (other watches exist 😉 )? Well, as it’s turned out there was no new Apple, no new Fitbit and there have been no new Garmins for the fall…at least, not yet. With the benefit of hindsight perhaps Whoop could have delayed an announcement to around about now (9 Oct) and ship in November. Up until mid-October is roughly about the latest time you want to announce a new product.

6. Whoop is having cashflow issues

Nah. Whoop has boatloads of cash. Really, don’t worry about that and you can always cancel the subscription in any case.

7. Whoop is overstating delivery times so that they deliver earlier and exceed those expectations

Maybe, see the image to the right/above. I just saw those this morning. Perhaps the first batch will be winging its way to the USA very soon.

 

So there we have cockup vs. conspiracy theories. They’re probably all wrong but my favourite is a component supply issue. What do you think is going on?

Bottom Line: #CommunicationBaby

Edit: Reddit users report movement in shipping times

Edit: 11Oct: Some users have shared images of Whoop4 devices on their wrists.

Edit: Times currently quoted in your order status should be maximum times (Source: Whoop)

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Whoop Band 4.0: Bungled Launch, Masterstroke or on its way?

  1. Working in electronics manufacturing, I’d bet that the first shipment is stuck in transit. I’ve had completed products stuck out on the water for over a month, with the port being overwhelmed. Airfreight is a fortune right now, but they are probably shifting to shipping directly from overseas, so they can actually fulfill orders.

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