Consumers eyeing the Apple Watch can now pick one up through Best Buy.
The electronics chain is now offering Apple's wearable device at both its retail stores and its website, as announced late last month. Best Buy is selling the Apple Watch Sport, which starts at $349, and the Apple Watch, starting at $549, as well as a variety of straps and other accessories. But it will not offer the more luxurious and expensive Apple Watch Edition, which starts at $10,000.
Apple can certainly use another major outlet in which to push the device to a wider range of consumers. Until now, the Apple Watch has been limited to Apple's online and retail stores as well as certain high-end boutiques and department stores outside the US. At first, the watch was available only through online orders via Apple's website and didn't reach the shelves of Apple retail stores until mid-June.
Like many Apple products, the Apple Watch also faced higher demand than supply when it first launched. That's one reason Apple limited initial sales to just online orders. So until recently, the company likely didn't have enough stock to sell the device through a major retail chain like Best Buy. Now, though, supply seems to have caught up with demand as Apple's website shows most variations of the watch immediately available.
Debate has cropped up over how many sales the Apple Watch has generated. Analyst predictions for Apple Watch sales for last quarter ranged from a low of 2.85 million to a high of 5.7 million, resulting in an average of around 4 million. Research firm Slice Intelligence estimated that Apple had sold 2.79 million Apple Watches from April through mid-June. But Slice said in early July that daily sales had fallen 90 percent from the first week of sales to the beginning of July. Last month, research firm Strategy Analytics pegged sales at 4 million, giving Apple a 75 percent share of the smartwatch market.
Apple has so far declined to release any sales figures for its first smartwatch. But on July 21 during a conference call following the release of last quarter's results, CEO Tim Cook said that "sales of the watch did exceed my expectations, despite supply trailing demand at the end of the quarter."
The Apple Watch will initially sell at more than 100 Best Buy stores in the U.S. and then expand to another 200 before the holiday shopping season.
"Our customers will be able to see, try and buy 16 Apple Watch models -- including Sport and Watch models in both 38mm and 42mm sizes -- and nearly 50 accessories, including watch bands, screen shields, stands, chargers and more," Best Buy said.