Friday is the day the Apple Watch officially launches, but only one store in the US is selling them to customers who haven’t placed a pre-order.
And it’s not even an Apple Store — it’s a fashion boutique in West Hollywood, California.
The Los Angeles Times reports that people began lining up outside the Maxfield store on Melrose Avenue on Thursday afternoon, but photos on Twitter show that the massive crowds usually seen at the launch of Apple products aren’t around this time.
Check it out:
The Maxfield store advertised the launch on its website:
Only five stores worldwide are selling the watch today.
The Tokyo carrier, Dover Street Market, saw a similar reception. The South China Morning Post reports that only a small queue of Japanese “tech addicts” lined up for the watch. The newspaper notes that “there was no sign of the excitement usually attached to the company’s product rollouts.”
Apple’s first smartwatch has debuted amid widespread confusion. The tech giant tested out a new method of ordering for the watch, eschewing the iconic queueing outside of its stores in favour of pre-orders and try-on sessions prior to the actual launch of the device. It has not gone as planned, however.
Though sales have been strong, consumers have been left bewildered about the availability of the device, with retail chief Angela Ahrendts acknowledging that employees have been “bombarded with questions” and promising that this wasn’t the end of Apple’s “blockbuster” launches, despite a prior memo suggesting otherwise.
Even after Friday, the device isn’t available to actually buy in Apple stores: For the foreseeable future, it will be online order only.
Some who pre-ordered the watch online are receiving their devices on Friday. Many people who pre-ordered the device, however, have been told they may be waiting months for it to arrive (though some of the delivery dates are now changing).
Apple is planning to ship at least 20 million watching this year, beating analyst estimates, according to Reuters.
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