Apple on Thursday confirmed that orders for the upcoming Apple Watch will be available exclusively online during the launch window, as the company expects that consumer demand will outstrip available supply of units.
The company issued a reminder stating that in-store previews and preorders will begin on Friday, ahead of the April 24 launch. But preorders will be available online-only, and users who try on the unit in stores will not be able to place an order there.
The Apple Watch will be available for in-store pickup if a user decides to have the device delivered to a store. But the initial orders must be placed through Apple's website, the company revealed.
The Apple Watch will debut in just over two weeks in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the U.K. Customers in those countries will also be able to try on the device with an appointment starting Friday, April 10.
Preorders for the Apple Watch are also scheduled to begin Friday at 12:01 a.m. Pacific, 3:01 a.m. Eastern.
"To provide the best experience and selection to as many customers as we can, we will be taking orders for Apple Watch exclusively online during the initial launch period." - Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts
"We are excited to welcome customers tomorrow and introduce them to Apple Watch, our most personal device yet. Based on the tremendous interest from people visiting our stores, as well as the number of customers who have gone to the Apple Online Store to mark their favorite Apple Watch ahead of availability, we expect that strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch," said Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores. "To provide the best experience and selection to as many customers as we can, we will be taking orders for Apple Watch exclusively online during the initial launch period."
Also beginning April 24, the Apple Watch will be available at boutiques in major cities including colette in Paris, Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo, Maxfield in Los Angeles and The Corner in Berlin, and select Apple Authorized Resellers in China and Japan.
Word first surfaced earlier this week that Ahrendts was planning to push orders online for not only the Apple Watch, but also the new 12-inch MacBook. Apple's retail chief is apparently hoping to change customer opinion that the company's product launches come standard with long lines, constrained channel supply, and low in-store inventory.
"This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen," she wrote in a letter to Apple's retail employees. "Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You'll make their day."