Apple first announced the Apple Watch at the tail end of the iPhone keynote last September, but didn’t get around to actually releasing the wearable (in extremely limited quantities) to customers until April of this year. Since its initial launch, Apple has slowly ramped production and orders to the point where the initial 6- to 8-week delivery window has shrunk to two days with free shipping or one day with expedited shipping.
Now that supply issues are for the most part worked out, Apple is ready to take the next step: opening up sales to one of its largest U.S. retail partners. Best Buy announced late last night that beginning August 7th, it will sell the Apple Watch in over 100 of its brick and mortar (B&M) stores and via BestBuy.com — an additional 200 B&M store will begin stocking the Apple watch ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. Previously, the Apple Watch was only available to order from Apple Stores (online and B&M) and a few boutique jewelry outfits around the globe.
“The Apple Watch is a big addition to our stores and website, and we know our customers want it,” said Best Buy Senior Category Officer Jason Bonfig. “We are excited to bring the Apple Watch to more consumers, especially with the holidays coming up.”
Given that Best Buy caters to the more mainstream consumer, you won’t find the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition stocked in its stores. However, you will find the full assortment of aluminum-clad Apple Watch Sport and stainless steel Apple Watches on hand. Both series will be available in 38mm and 42mm sizes and Best Buy plans to stock a whole smorgasbord of bands, stands and other accessories.
Apple CEO Tim Cook also took the time to shoot down rampant reports that Apple Watch sales have slowed significantly since launch and the Apple’s first new product category in years a flop. Cook called the reports “absolutely false.”
“We’re very bullish on the Watch being one of the key, top holiday gifts and want to have it in more places than we currently have it,” said Cook in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.