Apple Watch goes on sale but few queue outside stores
The Apple Watch launched globally this morning with a small queue of Japanese tech-addicts lining up in Tokyo for Apple Inc's first wearable gadget, but there was no sign of the excitement usually attached to the company's product rollouts.
Buyers can take the smartwatch home from a handful of upscale boutiques and department stores, including The Corner in Berlin, Maxfield in Los Angeles and Dover Street Market in Tokyo and London, which Apple courted to help position the watch as a fashion item.
But the gadget will not be sold at Apple stores on Friday. The company is directing people to order online instead, which should prevent the lines of Apple devotees who typically flock to iPhone and iPad launches.
About 50 people lined up to buy the watch at electronic store Bic Camera in Tokyo's Ginza district, while at the nearby Apple Store it was like any other Friday, according to Reuters reporters at the shops.
The lack of queues at Apple stores will make it hard to judge popular demand for the watch, which comes in 38 variations with prices ranging from $349 for the Sport version to $10,000 and more for the gold Edition.
Apple has not released any numbers since it opened for pre-orders on April 10, although many buyers were told their watches would not arrive for a month or more as supply appeared to dry up.
Wall Street estimates of Apple Watch sales vary widely. FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives raised his sales estimate this week to 20 million watches from 17 million, based in part on online order backlogs.