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Shipping times for 38MM Apple Watches improve to 5-7 business days ahead of retail debut

With Apple expected to open retail sales of the Watch in the near future —  possibly as soon as next week —  shipping times for 38-millimeter models have improved considerably, dropping to as little as 5 business days.

The new shipping times apply to every 38-millimeter Apple Watch Sport and most stainless steel versions —  including the space gray and space black models. The lone exception is the 38-millimeter stainless steel Watch with a modern buckle, which is listed at 1-2 weeks.

Most 42-millimeter models remain at 2-3 weeks, a significant improvement from where they were at launch, when some took up to 8 weeks to ship. Apple Watch Edition also holds steady at 2-3 weeks.

The rumor mill has begun to churn in recent days with word that Apple could open Watch sales in its brick-and-mortar outlets as soon as next week. Chinese site notes that the retail debut could come on June 8, following Apple's WWDC keynote.

Retail sales will reportedly carry some restrictions, with walk-in sales discouraged. Consumers will be able to reserve the Watch of their choice through Apple's website each day beginning at 8:00 a.m., a practice that the company has used often for iPhone launches in China.