UK public get their hands on first Apple Watches

The Apple Watch has gone on show in the UK on Friday as pre-orders for the smartwatch began this morning.

Those curious to preview and then try the Apple Watch can do so as of today by appointment in retail stores, before pre-ordering one of the three-Watch collection with a start price of £299.

Estimates suggested that the tech giant could sell up to 20 million units in 2015 and short after pre-orders were opened there was a surge in demand, with some shipping dates being pushed back.

Although the watch goes on sale on April 24, customers visiting the online Apple Store were already being quoted delivery dates in June.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s head of retail and online stores, said: “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 favourite Apple Watch ahead of availability, we expect that strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch.

“To provide the best experience and selection to as many customers as we can, we will be taking orders for Apple Watch exclusively online during the initial launch period.”

This marks a U-turn in Apple’s approach, famously known for the long queues outside its stores when new products arrive. The new strategy was already taking hold this morning as only a handful of customers were queuing outside the firm’s Covent Garden store before it opened. Similarly, before the Paris Apple store opened on Friday, about 100 people were queuing outside, Reuters news agency reported.

Customers will be able to order a Watch while in a store, but this will be done through an Apple store employee and via the company's internal online store.

The 18-carat gold alloy Apple Watch Edition will only be available to try on in selected Apple stores. This premium version of the device starts at £8,000. Special appointments and try-on sessions for the gold Watch take place in a private room, off the floor of the store.

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