Apple Watch pre-orders cause backlog until summer

Updated: 2015-04-11 04:36

By AI HEPING in New York(China Daily USA)

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Apple Watch pre-orders cause backlog until summer

Hundreds of people waited in line on Friday at Apple Inc's Fifth Avenue flagship store in Manhattan to get the chance to look at and try on the new Apple Watch. Unlike the launch of previous Apple products, the smartwatch can only be purchased online. [Photo by Jack Freifelder / China Daily]

Apple Inc started accepting pre-orders online for its new smartwatches on Friday and demand was so high that the orders were backlogged until the summer.

Friday also was the first day the smartwatches were available for customers to try on at Apple retail stores across the US and in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the UK. In China, knockoff versions are already being sold.

The Cupertino, California-based company said on Thursday that demand for the watch would exceed supply when it hits stores on April 24. An hour after the pre-orders started, the company's US website indicated new orders of many models wouldn't ship until the summer. Apple indicated that watches with black wrist straps and those with grey cases, were among the first to sell out of initial quantities.

Unlike other previous launches of Apple products, customers can't buy the device at an Apple store and take it home. All purchases will be made online, with customers able to set up appointments at the retail stores for fittings. Despite not being able to walk out of the store with the watch, hundreds of people waited in line on Friday at Apple's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to look at the watches.

The Apple Watch is Tim Cook's first new major product, and the company's first foray into the personal luxury goods market. It's also Apple's first new product line in five years, and its first since the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, who helped create many of Apple's most iconic products, including the iMac computer, iPod media player, iPhone smartphone and iPad tablet. Investors are expected to be looking to how well the Apple Watch does as a sign of whether Cook and his team are still as innovative without Jobs' influence over product design.

The watch displays notifications and runS apps from the iPhone. It will only work with iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

There are three models. The cheapest -- the Apple Watch Sport -- costs $349. The stainless steel model will start at $549 (38mm version) and $599 (42mm size). Prices then go up to $1,049 and $1,099. The high-end version, called the Apple Watch Edition and made from 18-karat solid gold, will range in price from $10,000 to $17,000. Consumers adding AppleCare+, which includes a limited warranty and tech support, costs an extra $49 to start all the way to $1,500.