If you want an Apple Watch in your hands on Friday, and you didn't preorder one, don't bother lining up at an Apple Store. Instead you'll need to head to one of a handful of luxury boutiques around the world -- and soon, apparently.
Apple began taking orders for its first wearable two weeks ago, with customers placing orders online for pickup at an Apple retail store or delivery by mail, starting tomorrow. Though the company is currently offering demos and fittings at Apple Stores, it has no plans to offer walk-in sales at the outlets. People who ordered the watch straightaway can expect to get it Friday, but others may have to wait till as late as June.
Apple fans who didn't preorder the gadget but want to walk in and walk out with one will have to head to any of a handful of luxury boutiques around the world. Maxfield in Los Angeles is one of those stores, advertising on its website that the Apple Watch will be available "in store" on Friday.
Maxfield has a limited number of Apple Watch Editions and Sports to offer on a first come, first served basis, said a sales associate at the store. She declined to say how many units would be offered, but consumers already have their sites set on the ones Maxfield does have. The associate said people were already queuing up outside the Melrose Avenue store on Thursday afternoon.
"There are already a handful of people lined up outside -- maybe 10 to 20," said the sales associate, who wished to remain anonymous. Richard Ryan, founder of the YouTube channel FullMag, tweeted that he was first in line, having been there since 8 a.m. PT, and he noted that "it's going to be a long night."
But Ryan won't be dealing with luxury boutique employees; Apple store employees will be at the store tomorrow to handle the transactions, according to the Maxfield associate.
Other boutiques that can expect a line of consumers for the Apple Watch are Collette in Paris; Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo; The Corner in Berlin and a handful of Apple authorized resellers in China and Japan.
Dover Street Market in London is hoping to avoid the crush, giving potential buyers instructions on its website for how to purchase the device. Anyone hoping to try on Apple Watch or buy it in the store has to make an appointment, and sales are limited to one watch per customer. Each buyer also has to bring along his/her iPhone that has been updated with iOS 8.2 or later.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for more information.
The Apple Watch, which can sync with several of the company's products, marks Apple's first new product category since the tablets and computers.in 2010. It's also the first new push by the company under the leadership of Tim Cook, who has promised for more than a year that Apple would and enter "exciting new product categories" beyond its wildly successful smartphones,
The boutique-offering represents a departure for Apple, which has positioned the watch as a fashion accessory. Costing from $349 to $17,000, the Apple Watch comes in two sizes, 42mm or 38mm, and three designs: the aluminum-cased Apple Watch Sport, stainless-steel-cased Apple Watch and the 18-karat-gold-cased Apple Watch Edition. The aluminum version comes with silver or space-gray options, while the stainless-steel watch comes in its namesake color or a space-black version. The gold watch is available in 18-karat yellow gold or 18-karat rose gold.