Apple has flipped the switch for pre-orders for the Apple Watch, letting customers purchase their device in advance via the Apple Store website and the Store app for iPhone and iPad. Previously, customers could “favorite” their preferred selection, picking from the three Watch collections and the various bands available for each, but now they can actually order a device, with in-store pickup and home delivery starting April 24.
The Apple Watch will be available to try on, but not to take home, at Apple Stores and a few authorized ressellers in launch countries Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US beginning when they open later this morning. Prospective buyers can make an appointment to go check out the device in person beginning now, to get a personal guided tour of the Watch from an Apple specialist.
Based on the first round of reviews, it’s definitely advisable that you set up an appointment to go get a first-hand look at the Apple Watch before placing a pre-order, unless you’re dead set on getting one regardless of what it’s like to use one. Apple is clearly gearing this retail launch towards offering ample time to try out the device, too, given the longer than usual window between pre-orders and availability.
Expecting to wait until launch day to walk in to a store, take one for a test ride, buy one and walk out might not work this time around, either: Apple is limiting launch sales to its online Apple Store for an indeterminate window, the company’s head of retail Angela Ahrendts noted in a press release yesterday.
I’m curious to see just how quickly available stock depletes. Both by Apple’s own admission and according to third-party supply chain reports, supply is expected to be limited at launch, so we could see that April 24 date slip away pretty quickly.