Apple sure knows how to build up the hype for its latest product launches.

Typical of the Cupertino-based iPhone maker, Apple has taken down its online store in preparation for the April 10 launch of the hotly anticipated Apple Watch.

At around half an hour past 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time, Apple's online storefront went down and began flashing "We'll be back. We're busy updating the Apple Store for you and will be back soon" in different languages.

When the store comes back online at 3:01 a.m. Eastern Time or 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time, buyers who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Apple Watch will finally be able to place a pre-order for their preferred size and design via the Apple Online Store as well as the Apple Store app and websites of authorized Apple resellers for customers in China and Japan.

"We are most excited to welcome customers tomorrow and introduce them to Apple Watch, our most personal device yet," says Apple's senior vice president of retail and online stores Angela Ahrendts. "Based on the tremendous interest from people visiting our stores, as well as the number of customers who have gone to the Apple Online Store to mark their favorite Apple Watch ahead of availability, we expect that strong customer demand will exceed our supply launch."

Apple veers away from the standard fanfare that usually accompanies every new Apple product launch. On Friday, April 10, instead of opening its doors to customers who are eager to buy an Apple Watch and take it home on the same day, Apple's physical stores will only be accepting visitors for previewing the Apple Watch.

Also, there won't be the usual long lines of people waiting outside the stores this time. Only those who have scheduled an appointment will be allowed to take the Apple Watch on a spin, unless one can find an Apple store with no previewing appointments booked on Friday, which is likely not going to be the case.

The Apple Watch will be available in three models and several various designs. The low-end Apple Watch Sport starts at $349 while the premium Apple Watch Edition with an 18-karat rose or yellow gold case costs up to $17,000. The middle of the road is the standard Apple Watch, which ranges from $549 to $1,099.

Analysts believe the Apple Watch, like the iPhone that revolutionized the mobile phone industry, will be the first smartwatch to take the mainstream market by storm. Gene Munster, analyst at Piper Jaffray, predicts that the Apple Watch will sell 1 million units in its first week.

Early reviews for the Apple Watch, however, are mixed, with most tech journalists who have gotten hold of the product agreeing that while the Apple Watch is beautiful to behold and feels like the high-quality product it is supposed to be, it leaves much to be desired in terms of changing people's lives. Still, it's Apple, and the company has millions of fans that will buy every product it puts out, whatever the reviews say about it.

Photo: Rodney Sabrsula | Flickr

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