Apple Watch debuts; backordered until June
Customers are now able to pre-order the smartwatch online, or try one on at select Apple stores. The Apple Watch is now on display in stores across Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.
While there were sparse crowds and short lines in London and Hong Kong, all models of the watch are already backordered for at least four to six weeks. The less expensive models are backordered until June.
The products will begin shipping on April 24.
Simon Shenton was among the first people lined up in London to try on a new Apple Watch Sport. He said he only waited five minutes to get into the store.
In fact, store employees and news reporters significantly outnumbered customers in the shop.
Shenton said he came by the store on his way to work because he wanted to try on the watch before he placed his online order later today. He’s trying to decide which color strap is best.
At New York City’s Apple store on Fifth Avenue, the crowds were thin as well.
Before customers were let in around 9 a.m., two small lines of people waited outside — one for those who had appointments to try on watches, and the other for everyone else. (Some were just waiting for the store to open so they could get their laptops fixed.)
Hootan Yaghoobzadeh said he pre-ordered his Apple Watch online at 3 a.m. and made an appointment at the same time. Overall he was pleased with the experience of trying one on, although he expressed slight disappointment that the leather band felt “a little rubbery.”
“I think it was nice,” Yaghoobzadeh said. “It runs smoothly.”
Yaghoobzadeh, a finance executive, told CNNMoney he was also surprised by the fashion advice he was given during his demo session. The Apple Watch professional told him to consider the size of the watches and style of the bands.
“It was kind of weird getting that advice from an Apple employee,” Yaghoobzadeh said.
Nancy Hardison, meanwhile, has been waiting for the day Apple would come out with a wearable device.
For the last eight years, the mother of two has been wearing her iPhone on a tether around her neck.
She hadn’t wanted a smartwatch until Apple unveiled its version, she said. Now, she’s trying to decide which one she wanted as a belated birthday present from her husband, she said.
And Hardison, an elementary school math teacher from Lynchburg, Virginia, has no doubt that the wearables market will take off soon.
“People just haven’t caught on yet,” she said, laughing.
This is probably exactly what Apple wants to hear.
The Apple Watch is the company’s first new consumer product in five years — and its first since Steve Jobs died. Since then, Apple has relied heavily on a single product — the iPhone — for most of its revenue.
The Apple Watch was designed to suit a wide range of budgets.
The Apple Watch Sport, with a rubbery band, starts at $349. But the Apple Watch Edition, which is crafted with 18-karat gold, starts at $10,000.
A secondary market for the watches has already popped on eBay. Sellers are posting screen shots of their confirmed pre-order receipts and asking for anywhere from $600 to $3,400.
Customers who want to try on the high-end gold timepieces must sign up for a special appointment, which lasts 15 minutes, although some walk-in appointments are also possible.