Apple pushes buyers online for Watches
Staff memo says gadget won't be in the shops
In a surprise move, the Apple Watch will not be available to buy in-store from next Friday and throughout May, according to a memo to staff from Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts.
Customers instead will be prompted by staff to order their watch of choice online in order to receive it faster, a decision Ms Ahrendts said had "not been easy".
"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," she wrote.
"It's important to remember that Apple Watch is not just a new product but an entirely new category for us. There's never been anything quite like it. 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."
The Apple Watch arrived in Apple retail stores and high-end fashion outlets, including London's Selfridges and Dover Street Market, on April 10.
Ms Ahrendts confirmed that April 24 is the date customers will begin to receive their pre-ordered watches, and that she would share further details around in-store availability in the future.
The decision to preview the devices in-store was made due to the device's nature as not just a new product, but entirely new category for the company, she added.
The former Burberry CEO told staff earlier this month the days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product "are over for our customers" following a "significant change in mindset".
"The Apple Store app and our online store make it much easier to purchase Apple Watch and the new MacBook. Customers will know exactly when and where their product arrives," she wrote.
"This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, show them how easy it is to order. You'll make their day."
The Apple Watch, announced last September, comes in three versions; sport, standard and luxury edition, starting from £299, £479 and £8,000 respectively.
The company is believed to have received around 2.3m pre-orders for the watches, 85pc of which are understood to be for the sport model.
Sunday Indo Business