No Apple Watches in Stores Until June
Apple’s new product launches have become notorious for long lines of customers camping out overnight outside Apple retail stores in hopes of being the first to grab up a new iPhone, iPad or other hot tech item. Things will be different for the debut of the Apple Watch as the stores will be quiet while all the action is happening online. Since Apple began taking pre-orders for the device last Friday, about a million buyers have staked their claim on at least one version of the trendy smartwatch and all of them did it online.
Those old-fashioned types who prefer to actually hold an object in their hands before putting down their money and taking it home will be deprived of that experience when the official on-sale date of the Apple Watch arrives on April 24. They may have to put off that trip to the Apple Store in the mall for more than a month since those retail locations will not have any Apple Watches for sale until June—at least.
Several Apple-centric sources claim to have seen an internal memo from the company’s head of retail Angela Ahrendts stating that the Apple Watch will not be available in stores on April 24 and “we expect this to continue through the month of May.”
This policy is a major change for Apple, which has always made new products available in their stores, at the online store and usually in select retail chains like Best Buy, Target and Walmart. This time around the company is aiming to have a closer relationship with potential customers.
According to Ahrendts, “To deliver the kind of service our customers have come to expect — and that we expect from ourselves — we designed a completely new approach. That’s why, for the first time, we are previewing a new product in our stores before it has started shipping.”
So for now and the foreseeable future, those who are craving the Apple Watch experience will have to make an appointment online for the privilege of handling an item they cannot actually purchase, then going back online to place an order. If you have trouble connecting, the Apple Store will sell you an iPhone, iPad or MacBook right on the spot even if you have to wait a couple of months for the watch that brought you into the store in the first place. Hmmm—maybe that’s not such a bad plan after all.