What do you do when your country isn’t part of the initial Apple Watch launch wave? Naturally, you try to order one online from one of the first nine markets, hoping to somehow be able to have it delivered to a friend. Or at least, that’s what I tried, but sadly it didn’t work. So now what do you do when you’ve missed the chance to preorder the Apple Watch with a confirmed April 24th ship date? Naturally, you hope that you’ll be able to score one in stores on launch day rather than waiting for it to ship in May – no, make that June or later – and you book a flight to one of the countries Apple has lined up for this launch.
Well, that’s what I did.
But first, let’s get something out of the way: I haven’t worn a watch in about 10 years. Don’t get me wrong, I love them and I often find myself wanting to buy them, but then I never do, realizing that I already have a bunch of devices telling me what time it is. I also don’t want something on my wrist all the time, particularly when it might get in the way as I type on a keyboard all day long.
On top of that, Apple, just like all the other smartwatch makers, is yet to convince me that I really need a smartwatch. Instant access to notifications and health and fitness tracking features are not exclusive to smartwatches – in fact, the smartphone you currently have, regardless whether it’s an iPhone or something else, already handles notifications quite well, and chances are that it’s a great activity tracker, too.
Also, Apple Pay isn’t available in Europe just yet, and that’s where I live.
But, love it or hate it, the Apple Watch is something entirely different from what rivals are selling. Apple is estimated to have already sold more Apple Watches during its preorder phase than the number of Android Wear devices sold in all of 2014. The company is also already influencing the business – just look at what traditional watchmakers are now hurrying to build. That’s one reason to want one, at least from my particular vantage point, because I write about tech and gadgets every day.
So here I am, 1,000 miles later, in Paris, France — one of the world’s fashion capitals and one of the main Apple Watch launch markets for Apple — knowing for a fact that there’s almost no chance I’ll leave with an Apple Watch on my wrist, even though I’m willing to part ways with a considerable chunk of money that could have been used for a different gadget purchase.
Come April 24th, the official launch date of the Watch that Apple has just shoved under the rug, the Watch won’t be available in local Apple retail stores – a detail I wish Apple would have been clearer about in the past. Like me, there are probably many shoppers who would have wanted to buy an Apple Watch in a store after trying one, even though they might not need it.
As for Paris, the Apple Watch should be on display in at least four locations, including the Louvre and Opera Apple stores, the Galleries LaFayette and the Colette store, where I can at least book a try-on appointment for the gold Edition I’ll never buy. There’s also a very, very tiny chance that a few shops in Paris will have limited Apple Watch stock at some point on Friday.