Apple is doing its smartwatch launch a little differently. According to a Reuters article by Yasmeen Abutaleb, Friday’s launch of the Apple Watch will be a more quiet and discreet affair than past blockbuster launches of the company’s iPhones.
Despite Friday being the official launch date for the wearable devices, Apple won’t be stocking them in its stores. Instead, the Apple Watch will go on sale at a few upscale shops that Apple has finagled into promoting its new device as a luxury accessory. Other than that, the company is focusing on meeting online orders.
The subdued launch may be a sign of uncertainty about the smartwatch’s prospects – an effort to avoid the embarrassment of a big launch with very few customers – or it could be a matter of supply being outstripped by demand; while Apple hasn’t yet released any official numbers on how its Apple Watch preorders did, the company has indicated that many customers will face long wait times for their products to ship due to production factors. And the speculation from industry analysts is that the preorders went very well; many are now expecting the Apple Watch to be a game-changer with respect to wearables in the same way that the iPhone was for smartphones.
Nevertheless, some analysts are a little more skeptical in their outlook; Abutaleb quotes Shannon Cross of Cross Research as noting that Apple’s overseers are “looking at this from a long-term standpoint and want to make sure it’s successful out of the box,” adding, “A lot of smartwatches out there end up being shelfware.” That latter point is certainly true, though Apple’s competitors are likely now hoping that their rival will actually be successful enough to popularize smartwatches in the mainstream and drive up demand for their own offerings.