Neil's Spiel: Apple botched its Watch rollout

Technology consultant Russ Frushtick, FOXBusiness.com reporter Katie Roof and FBN's Neil Cavuto on the rollout of the Apple Watch.

The Only U.S. Store with Apple Watch

By Gadgets FOXBusiness

The Apple (AAPL) Watch is no longer scheduled to be in Apple stores on Friday, but one shop in the United States will have them in stock. Maxfield, a boutique in Los Angeles, will be the only location in the country with in-store purchases of the Apple Watch at this time. Select boutiques in Paris, London and Tokyo will also have the watch.

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Apple initially planned to sell the watches in their stores on Friday, but changed their tune the day before the April 10th “pre-orders,” stating that the watches would be available “exclusively online during the initial launch period” because they expected demand to exceed supply.

The move to have Apple Watches available in high-end boutiques comes under the leadership of Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail. Ahrendts was previously the CEO of Burberry.

Apple confirmed to FOXBusiness.com that the boutique launch is going ahead as planned, but did not elaborate upon why the boutiques were receiving the items instead of their own stores.

“The lack of store availability is likely more a function of supply than a decision on availability,” said Walt Piecyk, analyst at BTIG, referring to the Apple stores. As for the boutiques, Piecyk said that “when you’re selling a $17k product that many consider to be jewelry, it makes sense to add boutiques to your distribution strategy.”

Apple’s online launch quickly resulted in backorders. Watches were expected to ship as late as August, but some delivery dates have moved up. “ It’s interesting that the company elected to accelerate delivery times for some customers rather than sending that inventory to some of their stores,” said Piecyk.

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Maxfield is located on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, an area known for its upscale stores and celebrity shoppers.

This is the first new product category under CEO Tim Cook’s leadership. The last time the company introduced a new type of device was when the iPad was released in 2010.

Apple shares are up 17% year-to-date and closed Thursday at $129.67.

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