APPLE Watch buyers will not be able to walk out of an Apple Store with the new wearable when it launches today, but that does not mean you cannot get it elsewhere.
A large push for the technology giant’s first smartwatch has been its place as a fashion piece as well as a smart device, and while Apple has said it will not have stock in its stores today, an exclusive selection of fashion stores will.
Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has previously stated the selling process would be different for the watch than the huge queues normally seen outside the company’s store for other products. Customers have been able to make appointments to try on the watch for the past two weeks, and instead of walking out of the store with a device, customers are having to buy online.
But six high-end fashion stores around the world, including Dover Street Market in London, will have the watch in stock to sell to customers who walk in with an appointment. The store’s chief executive, Adrian Joffe, told the New York Times that their London branch would have 570 units, though not the gold edition version of the device, which remains on back order.
The watch, which comes in three styles as well as with an array of changeable strap options, was first announced last September by Apple chief Tim Cook, and speculation and hype has built since then as more details have gradually emerged about the Cupertino-based firm’s first wearable device. The watch will connect with a user’s iPhone and can be used to communicate, as well as track health and fitness statistics including movement and heart rate.
Will Findlater, editor-in-chief of gadget magazine Stuff, said: “In many ways the Apple Watch is the ultimate gadget. Beautifully made and finished, hugely desirable and capable of a host of clever things, none of which you need, but many of which are nice to have.
“I think the watch will follow the same lines of success as the iPad did five years ago. It’s an intriguing device that has enough wow factor to pull people in”Stuart Miles
“The functionality that could end up most compelling is messaging - the ability to send scrawled drawings, emoticons and even your heart beat direct to another Apple Watch owner feels personal in a way no other message platform does.”
He added: “The one-day battery life and price are the two factors that will put many buyers off. £300 or more is a lot to pay for a first-generation device, especially as Apple will learn a lot about making it better once it’s in the market.
“That means the second or third-generation Apple Watch is probably the wiser buy. However, waiting would mean missing out on the fun of living with an entirely new, cutting-edge gadget right now, and for early adopters, that will be too much to bear.”
Indeed many are not willing to wait - since pre-orders began some analysts have forecast that Apple has sold more than two million units of the watch, and industry experts believe it will prove to be as popular as previous big Apple launches.
Stuart Miles, technology expert and founder of website Pocket-lint.com, said: “I think the watch will follow the same lines of success as the iPad did five years ago. It’s an intriguing device that has enough wow factor to pull people in.”
But he added that the change in buying process this time - and the online backlog that has already begun - could put some people off.
“The biggest problem Apple looks to be facing, is not if people will buy one, it’s whether they are going to be happy to wait until they can get one,” he said.
The Apple Store is currently reporting delivery dates of June for Apple Watches ordered now, though the firm said that some customers will get their watch earlier.