Apple will be officially launching the Apple Watch on April 24 — and the company has confirmed that the device will only be available for purchase through appointment.
This is a shift for Apple. While users can simply head into an Apple Store and walk out with an iPhone or iPad, that won't be the case with the Apple Watch.
It's a very interesting decision for Apple from a marketing perspective, though some are suggesting that it's not the right decision. Apple is essentially removing the possibility of customers impulse-buying the Apple Watch, which would likely represent a lot of sales.
There are a number of things that could have gone into Apple's decision to only make the device available by reservation. The first is that Apple probably wants to ensure that it has the right inventory at each Apple Store, especially around launch time.
The other possible reason is that Apple could want to walk customers through the process of using the watch in-store. Users will be able to customize the device, selecting which band they want and whether they prefer the Sport version or the standard Apple Watch. Users will also be able to buy the Apple Watch Edition, though reports suggest it will only be available at select stores.
Of course, a byproduct of this decision is that it gives the Apple Watch an even greater aura of premium quality.
Unfortunately for Apple, not everyone knows if they're going to purchase a device before they buy it. Though undecided customers can still make an appointment, they're less likely to do that than just walk into a store to try it out for themselves. The decision will be more than a little frustrating for could-be users who simply want to see what all the fuss is about.
Apple could lose out on millions because of this decision.
The Apple Watch will however sell millions regardless of whether or not users have to make appointments. Apple is a marketing powerhouse and it's been heavily marketing the Apple Watch over the past few months.
It's impossible to know just how much of a difference this decision will make in sales, but chances are the reservation-only Apple Watch will lose out on at least a few buyers.