The Apple Watch made its global debut today in a launch aimed at making the California giant the overnight leader in wearable technology.
The event was noticeably low key compared with the fanfare of other Apple product launches: None of the smartwatches were available in Apple stores in New York or around the world, meaning no long queues.
Walk-up sales of the wristwear were limited to specialized and luxury boutiques in the nine launch countries. Some customers were expected to get delivery of the Apple Watch if they were among the first to pre-order when Apple opened online sales on April 10.
At the Apple flagship store on New York's Fifth Avenue, it was just another day. "Is it launching today? Really?" said Swiss national Francesco Maisano at the New York store, adding that he would have liked to take one home to his country, where no sales data has been announced.
Recommended: Top 10 Best 2 GB RAM Smartphones Under Rs. 10,000
Also in New York, Elizabeth Stone said she didn't mind the delay -- understanding that Apple will not be shipping most watches before June.
"Good things come to those who wait," she said. "It makes it more exciting, it's like Christmas." In Paris, online chatter that luxury boutique Colette might have unclaimed watches produced a line of some 200 people outside its doors Friday morning.
Some Parisian enthusiasts -- perched atop stools or on lawn chairs -- said they began forming a line outside the ritzy central Paris shop on Wednesday afternoon. Twitter users spread word that a store in Tokyo's Akihabara quarter had deliveries of the watch, allowing several customers to walk away with Apple Watches of their choice -- without waiting in line. "I'm happy.
I want to wear it all the time," said Makoto Saito, 23, wearing a giant cardboard Apple Watch on her head. While most buyers at the Softbank store in Tokyo's posh Ginza district pre-ordered the watch, 39-year-old programmer Yuichiro Masui said he had been waiting outside since Thursday night.
"I want to try the fitness application because I'm concerned about my weight," he said. But official Apple outlets in the Japanese capital were quiet, with none stocking the smartwatch. In China, new owners went online to give their views.
"It is awesome! The Apple ecosystem is so strong, a large batch of applications can be used on the Apple Watch," said one happy recipient on the country's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.