Apple doesn’t want customers buying the Macbook or Apple Watch in its retail stores

Apple Watch
Last month we reported that while prospective buyers of the Apple Watch Edition were getting the red carpet treatment, those buying less expensive versions of the watch would be pointed to Apple’s online store to make their purchase, unless they wanted to make an appointment. A statement from Apple’s senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts has taken that sentiment even further, and has added the new 12-inch Macbook for good measure.

Ahrendts sent Apple Store staff a memo, titled “Get in line online,” which reads: “The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers. The Apple Store app and our online store make it much easier to purchase Apple Watch and the new MacBook. Customers will know exactly when and where their product arrives”

“This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You’ll make their day,” the memo, obtained by Business Insider, concludes.

Preorders for the Apple Watch begin this Friday, April 10, at 12:01 a.m. Pacific. In-store pickup of the Apple Watch will be discouraged for those pre-ordering online in the U.S., and it won’t be possible at all in the U.K.

Considering the many available options for the Apple Watch, this online-first strategy makes sense, but it’s somewhat more surprising when applied to the new MacBook. It isn’t clear whether this speaks to limited stock of the super-slim laptop, high demand, or both. In any event, while long lines at Apple Stores may make for good publicity, Apple doesn’t seem to be interested.

The pre-order period for the Apple Watch will last for two weeks, though Apple is not promising that it will remain in stock throughout that entire period. The official launch is later this month, on April 24.

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