Apple Watch try-on visits and online orders begin
From Beijing to Paris to San Francisco, the Apple Watch made its debut Friday. Customers were invited to try them on in stores and order them online.
The watch is Apple's first new product category since the iPad came out five years ago. Analysts are waiting to see how well the watch will sell beyond devoted Apple fans. Apple has a better chance at succeeding than any other smartwatch maker so far, yet it will likely take time before sales reach the kind of numbers that Apple gets for iPhones and iPads.
Watch prices start at $349, but can go as high as $17,000 for a luxury edition in gold. People can try the watch on in Apple stores, but for now all orders are being handled online. Shipments begin April 24.
It's available in the U.S. and eight other markets around the world. In the U.S., the watch is available only in Apple stores. In some countries, select department stores and resellers also have it.
Here's a look at developments surrounding Apple Watch, latest updates first:
In London's Covent Garden, a tourist hotspot, a buzz was growing in the Apple flagship store as dozens of fans came to check out the new gadget.
Some crouched over glass counters to play with sample watches, while others who had pre-booked appointments got to try them on their wrists.
"I've been waiting for this for a long time," said Carl Walsh, a 43-year-old company director. "It's beautifully developed, but I'll probably want to wait a bit and see what people say about the battery life."
Regy Selsaas, 42, came to see if the watch would make a good gift for his wife.
"It's more like a gadget than a phone," he said, wincing at the high price tag of the luxury version. "It's really beautiful but expensive. I'm not 100 percent convinced."
Jay Carroll, 15, needed no persuading. He and his mother Sarah had placed an online order first thing Friday, but the two still wanted to try it out in store.
"I'm looking forward to just having it there on my wrist, so I can be on my phone all the time," he said.
-Sylvia Hui, AP writer
5:30 a.m. EDT (6:30 p.m. in Tokyo):
The curious in Japan formed a long line in Isetan department store, where a special section was built just for the Apple watch.
The 70-square-meter (750-square-foot) modernist box with black floors and walls was staffed by about a dozen workers clad in black.
Only 20 customers were allowed in at a time, and only those with advance reservations or who showed up early enough to get one of 76 lottery tickets got to try the watch on.
The rest could only look at a display of 19 watches under a glass showcase. They ranged in price from about 43,000 yen ($360) to 2,800,000 yen ($23,300) for the luxury edition in gold.
- Noriko Kitano, AP writer
5 a.m. EDT (5 p.m. in Shanghai):
In central Shanghai, potential Apple watch buyers stood in lines two to five people long over their lunch hour at an Apple store on Friday to try on the watch many said they already planned to buy.
"It was beautifully made, like an expensive watch," said Li Hao, 27, a Web designer who owns a Mac, an iPad and an Apple TV. He has just traded up from an iPhone 4 to the new iPhone 6 Plus.
China was among countries where the watch had its global debut Friday, reflecting the country's fast-growing status as one of Apple's most important markets.
Li said he planned to buy the sport version of the watch at about 3,000 yuan ($500).
"I cannot do sports with the mobile phone," he said. "I need a machine to record what I did and a screen to look at."
Qi Tian, 26, who works in human resources for a real estate company, said he was "not a big fan" of Apple, though he owns four or five products. He said he planned to order a watch online that day.
"I just came to see if the size fits," said Qi.
- Fu Ting, AP researcher.
3:01 a.m. EDT (12:01 a.m. in Cupertino, California):
Ready, set, go ...
Apple starts taking orders for the watch on its website and Apple Store app. Currently, this is the only way Apple is selling the watch. Even those visiting retail stores will have to order online - either at home or at a Web terminal inside the store.
The retail stores are meant for customers who aren't sure which watch case, band or size they want - or aren't sure they even want one. Staff will be on hand to help customers try on the watches and answer questions before buying. Customers are encouraged to make an appointment online, though walk-ins will be accepted - just expect a wait.
- Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer
(© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)