The Apple Watch is finally here, and if ones not already strapped to your wrist, you can probably subconsciously feel one. If you want an Apple Watch, here’s what you need to know.
Updated on 12-09-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in news of a price drop on all Apple Watch models available at Best Buy.
Special Apple Watch offer at Best Buy
Back at the beginning of August, Best Buy started selling the Apple Watch online and in select stores in North America. At the beginning of November, it suddenly slashed $100 off all Apple Watch models it sells, meaning if you want the 38mm Apple Watch Sport, it’ll cost you $250. That’s just about the cheapest we’ve seen for Apple’s smartwatch.
The discount also applies to other Apple Watch models, including the new colors released recently, and versions with the Milanese Loop metal strap. The latter is priced at $600. Check Best Buy’s website now for details, as the offer could end at any time.
Since stocking the Watch, it has seen high demand both in stores and out, according to Best Buy’s CEO. In response to customer requests, the retailer expanded sales of the Watch to all of its 1,050 stores. You can buy the Apple Watch on Best Buy’s website.
Apple Watch comes to more countries and in stores
The Apple Watch was only sold online at first, but it’s now available in Apple retail stores in all the countries where it’s sold and other retail locations. The most recent addition to the list of retailers who have the Apple Watch in stock is Target. It’ll be in some stores as of October 2, and all stores by October 25. Target’s website will also sell the smartwatch on October 18.U.S. carrier Sprint announced it would stock the Apple Watch from September 25.
Additionally, the Apple Watch can be purchased in three dedicated concessions in well-known department stores. In London, Selfridges on Oxford Street has its own Apple Watch store. In Paris, one can be found inside the Gallerie Lafayette. Finally, in Tokyo, another is located in the flagship Isetan store in Shinjuku.
In September, the Apple Watch went on sale in the UK department store John Lewis, the first time the Watch was sold outside of the Apple Retail Store network in the country. Additionally, UK electronics retailer Currys also sells the Apple Watch. Six models are on sale, including both the 38mm and 42mm Sport and Watch versions.
The retail push follows the initial online-only sales in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, and Japan. On June 26, Apple Watch sales opened up in more countries, including Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan. In late June, Apple confirmed a July 17 retail date for the Netherlands, Sweden, and Thailand. In mid-July, Apple announced the Watch’s launch in New Zealand, Russia, and Turkey on July 31. This brings the total number of countries where the Apple Watch is sold to more than 20.
Rumors suggest wider availability. Austrian publication MacMania, citing an anonymous source, claims the Apple launch will launch in Austria on September 15. Denmark and India could be next in line — Danske Bank issued a since-retracted press release stating that its MobilePay service will support the Apple Watch when it launches in Denmark in September, and Indian website iGyaan said the Watch will “arrive in [India] next month.”
Online-only sales ended on June 26
Preorders for all three versions of the Apple Watch opened on April 10, and the Watch became generally available on April 24. Unfortunately, you couldn’t just walk into an Apple Store and walk out with a Watch at launch. However, on June 26, this restriction was lifted and the Apple Watch was in stock at stores worldwide.
The preorder process for the Apple Watch was nightmarish — some with early shipping estimates were being sold on eBay for as much as $13,500. But now, it’s much easier to get an Apple Watch from either the online store or a retail shop. Those who order one online can get it the next day, and if you walk into a store, you’ll have no delay at all.
Those who pre-ordered initially faced delivery delays, but many customers with delivery dates in May and June received an email saying that the Watch should arrive earlier than expected. An Apple spokesman told the New York Times, “Our team is working to fill orders as quickly as possible based on the available supply and the order in which they were received.”
How much does the Apple Watch cost?
This is where things might get a little confusing.
First, know that there are three variants of the Apple Watch: the Apple Watch Sport, the Apple Watch, and the Apple Watch Edition. The cheapest model, and probably Apple’s biggest seller, is the Watch Sport. It will start at $350 for the 38mm size version and $400 for the 42mm. This stays the same across all the silver aluminum-bodied models, with the band offered in white, blue, green, or pink. If you opt for the space grey Watch Sport, your sole option is a black silicone band.
Next up is the stainless steel bodied Watch, which costs a little more, and is the first with the option to select alternative straps. The 38mm model in silver with a white or black sports strap costs $550, and the 42mm version is $600. From there, the price increases depending on which strap you choose. A black leather version with a silver buckle, or the all-metal Milanese Loop option is $650/$700.
Apple then splits the pricing and the strap options. The 38mm Apple Watch comes with a plain leather strap and a “modern” buckle, while the 42mm Watch has a leather loop strap. Each comes in several colors. The 38mm version is the more expensive of the two at $750, while the 42mm model is $700. Finally, there are two different stainless steel cases and strap options, one in silver, and the other in space grey. You’ll pay $950/$1,000 for the silver, and $1,050/$1,100 for the space grey.
Finally, there’s the Watch Edition, which is made from real gold, and you’ll need $10,000 minimum if you want to take one home. For that, you get either an 18-karat rose gold, or yellow gold 38mm watch with a sport band. The 42mm version is $12,000. A 42mm Apple Watch Edition with a classic buckle is $15,000. The most expensive Apple Watch Edition is the 38mm model with a leather strap and modern strap, and it costs an enormous $17,000.
Bands can be purchased separately. The Sport Band is $50, the Leather and Milanese Loop is $150, the leather with a Modern Buckle is $250, and the metal link bracelet is $450.
Want to protect your investment? You can, for a price
Called AppleCare+ for Apple Watch, protection for the cheapest Watch variant, the Watch Sport, will set you back $50, regardless of the size. AppleCare+ for the mid-tier Watch will set you back $70. These protection plans bump up your Apple Watch warranty by two years while granting you up to two accidental damage claims. Unfortunately, you’ll still have to shell out $79 for repairs, even with AppleCare+ for both Watch models.
AppleCare+ for the Apple Watch Edition, however, will flex your credit card quite a bit by charging $1,000. It extends the warranty by one year and lets you make up to two accidental damage claims, but repairs will set you back yet another $1,000 plus taxes. Of course, if you’re already spending $10,000 on the Apple Watch Edition, another $1,000 or $2,000 might not be a huge bother for you.
Without AppleCare+, your Apple Watch Sport and the mid-range Apple Watch will only get a one-year warranty for hardware repairs and 90 days of support. Meanwhile, the Apple Edition Watch will come with a two-year warranty and complimentary support.