The Apple Watch is making its debut at Best Buy this summer. On August 7, the retailer will become the first store beyond the Apple Store to sell the smart watch to the masses.
According to Best Buy, the Apple Watch will arrive in over 100 company stores, as well as splash across the BestBuy Web site. By the time the holiday season rolls around, at least 300 Best Buy stores will make the smart watch available.
Customers who visit Best Buy can see, try on and buy any one of 16 Apple Watch models. The retailer will also sell about 50 accessories for the smart watch, including watch bands, screen shields, stands, and chargers.
“The Apple Watch is a big addition to our stores and Web site, and we know our customers want it,” said Jason Bonfig, senior category officer at Best Buy. “We are excited to bring the Apple Watch to more consumers, especially with the holidays coming up.”
Beyond Best Buy?
The Apple Watch lets you send messages, read e-mail and answer calls to your iPhone from your wrist. There's a Taptic Engine that alerts you with a tap so you don't miss notifications. Meanwhile, Digital Touch lets you communicate by sending a sketch, a tap or using the rhythm of your heartbeat. The device even comes equipped with Apple Pay and health and fitness features.
Apple Watch is available in three collections: Apple Watch Sport, priced at $349 and $399; Apple Watch, available from $549 to $1,099; and Apple Watch Edition, crafted from custom rose gold or yellow 18-karat gold alloys, with prices starting at $10,000. Apple sold over 1 million of the devices during pre-sales.
It seems Apple is largely caught up on the back orders and is ready to take on the holiday shopping frenzy. The company is “making great progress with the backlog of Apple Watch orders,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations. Apple has not announced plans to sell the watch at other retail spots.
We asked Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, for his thoughts on the impact of the Best Buy move. He told us more distribution is always better for sales and the expansion shows production is catching up with demand in the U.S.
“This is the important question: Is supply catching up with demand because demand is slipping or because production is expanding? We don’t know yet,” Entner said. “For the holiday season, this is definitely a big plus for Apple. They want to be in as many stores as possible.”
Although Entner acknowledged the pent-up demand, he said many analysts’ longer-term predictions were “very, very high.” His math revealed that even moderate success with the smart watch would make Apple the second-largest manufacturer by sales.
“Many analysts ride the wave of exceedingly high expectations,” Entner said. “When you look at the watch market, the price point doesn’t give itself to selling that many -- at least not initially.”