The first batch of Apple Watches will be shipped to customers who have pre-ordered today, but supply on the high street is extremely limited
Apple will begin shipping its long-awaited Apple Watch to people who have pre-ordered a device today, but anyone hoping to buy one on the high street will almost certainly be out of luck.
The Apple Watch became available for pre-order on April 10, but the first run reportedly sold out within hours, leaving many customers facing shipping delays over over a month.
Apple has not revealed how many Watches have been sold, but market researcher Carl Howe from Think Big Analytics predicts that the initial run of watches was more than 3 million units.
While those who got their orders in early enough will be receiving their Watches today, others will have to wait until more devices have been manufactured.
However, Apple claims that it is working hard to fulfill orders as quickly as possible, and many customers will receive their Apple Watch pre-orders sooner than expected.
“We’re happy to be updating many customers today with the news that their Apple Watch will arrive sooner than expected,” an Apple spokeswoman told BuzzFeed.
“Our team is working to fill orders as quickly as possible based on the available supply and the order in which they were received. We know many customers are still facing long lead times and we appreciate their patience.”
Many of those who did receive their devices today took to social media to document the ‘”unboxing” process. Mel Firbank from Australia was one of the first to receive an Apple Watch Sport, and posted this picture to her Instragram account (above).
Meanwhile, those hoping to purchase an Apple Watch on the high street will most likely be disappointed, as Apple’s Angela Ahrendts has confirmed that there will be no Watches to buy in Apple Stores during the month of May.
Customers who go into an Apple Store today will be able to try on any Watch they desire, but will be prompted by staff to order their device online – either on-site or at home.
“Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No. We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days – and there will be many more to come,” wrote Ms Ahrendts in an internal memo.
“It’s important to remember that Apple Watch is not just a new product but an entirely new category for us … To deliver the kind of service our customers have come to expect – and that we expect from ourselves – we designed a completely new approach.”
Apple Stores in London and around the world were notably devoid of the traditional queues that accompany most Apple product launches. At the company’s flaship store in Covent Garden, only three people were seen queuing in the early hours of this morning:The Watch is an untried concept for Apple. It straddles a technology market accustomed to rapid obsolescence and luxury goods whose appeal lies in their enduring value.
The Apple Watch “Sport” starts at £299 while the “Standard” version comes in at £479. High-end “Edition” watches with 18-karat gold alloys are priced from £8,000 and go as high as £13,500.
Reviewers have praised the watch as “beautiful” and “stylish” but gave it poor marks for relatively low battery life and slow-loading apps.
Sales estimates for 2015 vary widely. Piper Jaffray predicts 8 million units and Global Securities Research forecasts 40 million. By comparison, Apple sold nearly 200 million iPhones last year.