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Apple Watch may have shipped to only 22 percent of preorder buyers so far

About 1.3 million US buyers are still waiting for the smartwatch, says Slice Intelligence.

Apple has reportedly fulfilled only a small percentage of preorders for its new smartwatch. Apple

Only a fraction of customers in the US who preordered the Apple Watch have received one so far, according to research firm Slice Intelligence.

Slice estimates 376,000 units of Apple's new wearable device, out of 1.7 million preordered since April 10, have been delivered to US consumers, according to a blog post it published Sunday.

The supply of Apple products often falls short of demand when the company rolls out its next new thing. And that's no different with the Apple Watch. Earlier this month, Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president of retail and online stores, acknowledged "strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch."

But the Apple Watch is not just a new product; it's a new category with a completely different retail experience for both Apple and its customers. Customers can't just walk into an Apple Store and walk out with the watch. They have to make a reservation at a store if they want to check out the watch in person. Once they decide they want to buy one, customers can then order the Apple Watch at the store, through Apple's website or using the Apple Store app.

Watch buyers can also bypass Apple altogether. Some luxury stores around the world are selling the watch in their own showrooms. One CNET reader said she was able to purchase the watch at the Dover Street Market in London after waiting just one hour in line.

So when should customers expect to receive their preorders? An additional 547,000 watches are scheduled to ship between April 27 and June 11, according to Slice. But around 647,000 buyers, or 38 percent of those who preordered, are still waiting to be notified for a delivery date. Apple's website currently shows a ship date of June for those who order the watch now.

Slice bases its estimates on the number of shipping notifications sent to its panel of 2 million online shoppers in the US.

The Apple Watch is available in three different flavors -- the entry-level Sport version, the midlevel Apple Watch and the luxury Apple Watch Edition. The Sport version starts at $349, the Apple Watch at $549 and the Apple Watch Edition at $10,000.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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