First Apple Watch orders now ‘shipped’ to customers for Friday delivery

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Apple has now started sending delivery notifications to customers that their Apple Watch orders have ‘shipped’, ready for the launch tomorrow. Many users on Twitter are tweeting their orders to show that the status has changed to shipped (or dispatched, internationally).

Customers can now track their orders as they go out for delivery. So far, it seems that only US orders have entered this stage. Shipping notifications for international customers in the launch countries are likely to follow soon.

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1.3 GHz, built-to-order MacBooks begin preparing to ship following charges

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Apple has started to charge the credit cards of customers who ordered the highest-end 1.3GHz version of the 12-inch MacBook, according to emails from 9to5Mac readers. The customized, built-to-order MacBook went on sale earlier this month with 3-4 week shipping times for even the earliest orders, and Apple originally promised a delivery timeframe of May 8th to May 15th. As we saw with Apple Watch credit card charges earlier this week, it seems plausible that Apple already charging customers for the 1.3 GHz MacBook could indicate that shipments of the new laptop will begin occurring sooner than originally expected. However, readers have yet to report any signs of UPS or FedEx tracking numbers, or their Apple Online Store status pages moving from “Processing” to “Preparing for Shipment.”

Update: Several readers reporting that their MacBooks are now preparing to ship, several weeks early:

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Apple Watch user-interface still seems confusing? There’s a workshop for that …

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Following the try-on appointments that allowed 15 minutes hands-on time with an Apple Watch (or an hour for the Edition), Apple is offering Apple Watch Basics workshops at selected retail stores. Appointments can be booked now, and the earliest workshops take place on the official (or perhaps now unofficial) launch date of 24th April.

It’s unlikely many people will have received their Apple Watch by this date, and you won’t be able to buy one in-store before June, but if the tutorial videos or unofficial cheat-sheet still leave you wanting more, the workshops seem a good opportunity to get to grips with the new device …  Read more

No Apple Watches in store until June, Ahrendts tells staff as April 24th date removed from website

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Angela Ahrendts has told Apple Store staff that the Apple Watch is unlikely to be available for in-store purchases before June – but they should expect the usual ‘blockbuster launches’ in retail stores for future products.

In a memo to retail store staff, Apple’s retail head thanked staff for making the try-ons “unforgettable,” told them customer feedback had been “overwhelmingly positive” and that the online-only ordering period was likely to continue throughout May.

Many of you have been getting questions asking if we will have the watch available in stores on April 24 for walk-in purchases. As we announced last week, due to high global interest combined with our initial supply, we are only taking orders online right now. I’ll have more updates as we get closer to in-store availability, but we expect this to continue through the month of May.

Ahrendts said that the decision to do things this way had not been an easy one …  Read more

Apple surveys Apple Watch customers to see if try-on appointments lead to sales

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Apple is taking a different approach to pre-orders and sales for Apple Watch, which has a lot to do with the product being Apple’s first fashion accessory. For that reason, many customers will actually want to try the Apple Watch on in person before making the purchase. To get a feel for the new try-on experience — Apple started letting customers schedule appointments to try-on the device in-stores on April 10 — the company is surveying customers afterwards to get feedback and see if they plan on purchasing the device. Read more

Opinion: I’ve seen the future of Apple’s online/offline retail experience, and it’s magic

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‘Seen’ is something of an exaggeration, but ‘had a small glimpse of’ would have made for a rather lengthy headline.

Despite the fact that I’d placed my Apple Watch order online within a few minutes of pre-orders opening, I also made a same-day appointment for a try-on. This was partly because I wanted to handle the watch right away: Apple PR does not smile on a website that consistently reports upcoming product information, so we are firmly crossed-off the list of invitees to launches. But it was also partly because I was curious how the watch would be presented by store staff.

But let me begin by backing up a step or two …  Read more

Apple begins Apple Watch pre-orders & 12-inch MacBook sales, supplies limited

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Update: Shipment dates are all over the place for the Apple Watch. Many models are already showing delivery dates in June, while the Edition shows an August arrival date. Some 12-inch MacBook models still ship in 1-3 business days.

As expected, the highly anticipated Apple Watch is now available for pre-order through Apple’s online store. Likewise, the new 12-inch MacBook is now available for purchase through the online store. Pre-orders of the Apple Watch and sales of the MacBook are also live in the Apple Store app on iOS devices. You can also now make appointments to try-on an Apple Watch at an Apple Store.

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Angela Ahrendts to retail staff: Encourage customers to buy Apple Watch & MacBook online

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Apple may be revamping its storefronts to promote the Apple Watch, but it won’t be encouraging you to buy one there. Retail head Angela Ahrendts has sent a memo to Apple Store staff asking them to suggest customers use the online store to order both the Apple Watch and 12-inch MacBook. The memo reportedly reflects the fact that store inventory of both products will be very limited when the MacBook goes on sale on Friday and the Apple Watch follows two weeks later.

Ahrendts’ two-paragraph memo aims to put a positive spin on the fact that many customers are likely to be disappointed when trying to purchase the new products, suggesting that pointing them to online purchase will “make their day” …  Read more

New Apple Store front display for Apple Watch, new gold model details revealed

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Apple will begin dressing up the front of its stores with a new Apple Watch-themed promotion on April 10th to coincide with the beginning of in-store Apple Watch try-on appointments. The new, unique display will be shown at all Apple Stores with glass front windows and it is themed akin to the application icon arrays on the Apple Watch’s Home screen. According to the source who provided the above rendering, each circle is packed with Mac mini-powered LED lights that will show off different colors, patterns, and effects throughout the day. The new front of store visuals will continue to stay live after the Apple Watch launches on April 24th as Apple can simply remove the “Coming Soon” label shown on the above render…

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Apple launches iPhone and iPad trade-in program in China Apple Stores

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Apple today officially launched a version of its Apple Store iPhone trade-in program for China, as noted on the individual store pages for China’s Apple Retail Stores.

As is the case in the United States and several other countries with Apple Stores, the program allows a user to bring in an older iPhone model and trade in that device for gift card credit toward the purchase of a new iPhone; the program will most likely not allow a customer to trade in an iPhone toward the purchase of an Apple Watch. But as contrasted with the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy, the new China program is limited to iPhones and iPads, and will not support non-Apple smartphones.

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Apple launches in-store Android trade-in program to boost iPhone sales

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In line with our report from earlier this month, Apple today launched its first trade-in program for non-iPhones in its Apple Retail Stores. The program allows users of select Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry phones to bring in their devices and receive credit toward the immediate purchase of a new iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus (but not an Apple Watch). Apple first launched its standard iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program in 2013, and the company expanded the feature to the iPad last year. Apple made today’s announcement on the individual retail store pages, indicating that the program is so far now available in the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy, and multiple retail sources say that the program has indeed gone live today. A version of the iPhone trade-in program that does not support non-iPhones is launching this week in China.

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