Last September, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced the long-awaited Apple Watch. As Apple's first fashion item, prospective customers will likely want to get some hands-on time with the device -- especially given the array of band and case combinations to choose from.
Besides those who attended the iPhone event where the Apple Watch was initially unveiled or the Apple Watch-focused event last month, the world will get its first chance to see the device in person in less than a week.
Here are three dates those interested in the watch will want to mark on their calendars.
On April 10, the Apple Watch will be available for pre-order at Apple's online store in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. And in each of these markets, starting on April 10, the watch will be available for try-on at Apple retail stores and Apple department store shop-in-shops.
Trying on the Apple Watch will require an appointment. According to a copy of leaked Apple retail training materials provided to MacRumors, try-on appointments for its aluminum case Apple Watch Sport and its stainless steel case Apple Watch are meant to last 5-15 minutes.
Customers interested in the gold Apple Watch Edition will be treated with a special purchasing experience, influenced by Apple's recent hires of marketing experts from Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Yves St. Laurent, 9to5Mac asserts, citing "sources briefed on the launch plans."
9to5Mac's well-connected Mark Gurman explained:
When a customer interested in the Apple Watch Edition enters the store, he or she will be given no-wait access to a dedicated Expert, who will provide a personalized "journey" from the beginning of the appointment until the end, as much as one hour later. There will even be a new option for at-home video conferencing rather than in-store personal setup. By design, it will be more "elegant" than the budget-focused experience Apple Watch Sport customers receive.
Gurman also notes that if any lines have formed for the stainless steel or sport versions, customers trying on the Apple Watch Edition will get to skip the line.
While pre-orders and try-on appointments begin April 10, customers won't be able to take home purchased Apple Watches until April 24. Apple Watch availability will initially only include Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. -- the same countries able to pre-order or try on the device on April 10.
Whether purchased in-store or online, Apple Watch customers are entitled to a Personal Setup appointment for customizing their watch and pairing it with their iPhone.
The aluminum case Apple Watch Sport pricing begins at $349. Pricing for the stainless steel case Apple Watch begins at $549. And pricing for Apple's 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition starts at a whopping $10,000.
Apple Watch requires iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2 or later.
As the company's newest product line, investors and analysts will be keenly interested in seeing how the launch weekend pans out. If Apple carries over its tradition of announcing opening weekend iPhone sales to the Apple Watch, investors may get their first tangible figure to begin modeling the potential of this new Apple business on Monday, April 27.
For perspective, it took Apple 74 days to sell its one millionth iPhone in 2007. And Apple said it sold "over 300,000 iPads" during the product's first ever day of availability in 2010. More recently, during Apple's most recent iPhone launch weekend, iPhone sales topped 10 million.
Where will Apple Watch sales fall?