The latest memo signed by Apple head of retail Angela Ahrendts eliminates the confusion around the Apple Watch launch and purchase options. It also corroborates earlier reports of orders being limited to the online store (via 9to5Mac, iGen.fr).
Apple’s press release published just before the Watch pre-orders went live had already suggested that orders would be online only, at least for the initial launch period, but the memo sent to retail store employees adds a timeframe: Apple Watch orders will continue to be taken online only from April 24 through May. Apple Watch deliveries will start on April 24 as planned.
The feedback from customers is overwhelmingly positive. They are excited about Apple Watch, and your teams are creating fantastic experiences for them. Customers who pre-ordered will start receiving deliveries next Friday as planned, and I know you will do a great job helping them get set up.
Ahrendts admits that this is a totally new experience, but it is currently limited to the Apple Watch for a variety of reasons: It’s a new product category; it is surrounded by high global interest; and the initial supply is limited, just to name a few of the reasons mentioned by Ahrendts.
I know this is a different experience for our customers, and a change for you as well. Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No. We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days—and there will be many more to come. They’re the moments where you, our teams, shine. And our customers love them as well!
This also means that theoretically nothing changes when the device officially starts shipping on April 24 to customers. They are already in stores, and you can try them on.
What does change, though, is that from April 24, the first customer reviews will start hitting the Web, and disappointed customers can only hope that supply improves over time.