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Apple Watch Hits Stores, Online Orders Back Up

The Apple Watch has arrived and fans are lining up around the world for their first chance to try one on.
/ Source: NBC News

The Apple Watch has arrived and fans are lining up around the world for their first chance to try one on.

For all of their trouble, they won't be able to take the Apple Watch home. Apple is only taking pre-orders online, so those marveling at the device in stores will still have to log onto the Apple website or order one through a terminal in the store to actually purchase one.

The Apple Watch officially starts shipping on April 24. The reality is that many customers will have to wait longer than that. According to CNBC, three hours after the Apple Watch went on sale, 37 of the 38 models were showing 4-6 weeks of wait time. A few aren't available until July. Hundreds of Apple Watches have already been spotted on eBay. Demand for the new gold MacBook was also strong, forcing wait times of 3-4 weeks.

Unlike the last new product category Apple launched, the iPad, the Apple Watch is available in a wide array of materials and colors. Prices range from $349 for the lowest price Sport model to $17,000 for the 18-karat rose gold Watch Edition.

The Apple Watch lets users do things like purchase items with Apple Pay, summon an Uber, track health stats, check in at airports, and even send another Watch wearer the feel of their pulse with the device's heart rate sensor.

CEO Tim Cook called sales of the device "great" and even stopped by an Apple Store in Palo Alto, California, on Friday wearing an Apple Watch with a white sports band.

Reviews for the Apple Watch have generally been favorable. "Of the half-dozen smartwatches I’ve tested in recent years, I’ve had the best experience with Apple Watch," wrote Lauren Goode in her review for Re/Code. Most reviewers found that the Apple Watch lasted an entire day on a single charge.

One common criticism is that since the Apple Watch must be paired with an iPhone, it doesn't replace the phone, and it's not clear how many people want to spend $500 on an accessory. That hasn't stopped some people from lining up.

A small crowd gathered at Selfridges, the famed high-end department store in London, on Friday morning to get a look at the watch.

"I like the Apple products because they are cool and so simple to use and I want to see how far the smartwatch has come and what they can do," Dominic Meister, a Swiss national visiting London, told CNBC.

Overall, the lines for the Apple Watch have been smaller than for other Apple products like the iPhone, which customers have been able to take home from the store. The Apple Watch is available for pre-order in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the U.K. and the United States.