Apple has started selling Apple Watch accessories from third parties in its retail stores. According to MacRumors, the new items began appearing on shelves beginning on Wednesday (Aug. 26).
The first product for general availability, noted the site, is the ElevationLab NightStand — originally offered in only a trio of colors but now has been expanded to include another five colors tied to the Apple Watch Sport brands.
MacRumors also said that the nightstand has an alarm clock mode that is compatible with the Apple Watch. New items may start debuting in stores beginning next month, the site noted, quoting an unnamed source that has been familiar with the Apple launch. The nightstand itself is available only at the retail locations, with no online availability as of yet.
The push to offer new accessories for the Apple Watch, which debuted earlier in 2015, comes as Apple retools its retail presence and expands the roster of items offered. Another new feature is the fact that the company’s retail locations no longer sport the iPad "smart signs" that previously were there to offer up pricing information and details specific to each item. Now, instead, consumers can use pricing apps that are tied to specific products displayed, such as iPhones, iPads and Macs.
The retail store transformations at Apple have been ongoing for several months, with some efforts to reduce some accessories (even while moving toward offering third-party goods). And, noted MacRumors, “many accessories” that could find their way onto Apple retail shelves may be housed in Apple-designed packaging.
Apple’s retail strategy has garnered the company a position as the most profitable retailer as measured by sales per square foot, with mid-single digit sales growth and an extensive lead over retailers last year that included Lululemon and others.