International

Apple Watch Preview Doesn’t Spark Crowds Abroad

Despite high demand, there were no long lines for the Apple Watch in the eight countries where it became available for preview on Friday (April 10). But thanks to online orders, deliveries — which officially begin on April 24 — have been pushed back to June or July for most models, according to Bloomberg News.

“I was sort of surprised that there are not more people in the store,” software engineer Kishin Manglani told Bloomberg at an Apple Store in New York on Friday. “I would say this is actually fewer than normal.” In part that could be because customers couldn’t walk out of the store wearing the Watch. To avoid iPhone-style lines, Apple is only taking orders for the Watch online, though customers can try on the device in-store.

At Apple’s Fifth Avenue store in New York, customers could try on the Watch without an appointment and only a 10-minute wait. At London’s Covent Garden Apple Store, metal barriers used for crowd control with the 1,000-plus people lined up for the iPhone 6 last year were stacked beside the store, with security guards the only people outside the store an hour before it opened on Friday. In Paris, the 16 people in line at the Galeries Lafayette store were outnumbered by 17 employees and security guards.

And in Beijing, only 14 people were in line — including a few die-hard fans. “I must be here,” office worker Lloyd Yu told Reuters, who had both an iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. “Everything Apple makes, I will buy at least one.”

Getting it may take a while. By Friday morning in New York, deliveries for the top-end version, Apple Watch Edition, were running as late as June. The mid-range model had a four-to-six-week shipping delay, with some models backlogged to July. And all versions of the entry-level Apple Watch Sport were delayed until June.

Though it won’t come close to the iPhone 6 record sales of 4 million pre-orders in the first 24 hours and 10 million during the first weekend, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said he expects the Watch to get 300,000 pre-orders in the first 24 hours, and to sell as many as 1 million watches during the opening weekend. He also estimated the Apple may sell 8 million Watches this fiscal year for $4.4 billion in revenue.

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