Best Buy's move to be among the first national retailers to offer the Apple Watch highlight how Apple is really playing for the holidays when it comes to its latest device category.
Since the Apple Watch launched it has been apparently clear that Apple is taking its time, building its ecosystem and channel and targeting the holidays as a true gauge of consumer demand.
- Apple hasn't disclosed figures, but most Wall Street analysts are projecting 2 million smartwatches sold so far.
- The company has seeded the ecosystem with apps and started strong, but is just now getting around to native support for third party developers.
- Apple's next Watch OS adds a lot of features that to position the device for future quarters.
- As for Apple's channel, the company is also taking it slow. The Apple Watch rollout was bizarre with online-only availability when the stores could have been used better.
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CEO Tim Cook noted that Apple was learning about the buying experience online and in stores. Cook said last week:
We've learned a lot about the buying experience. Based on that experience, we're now planning to expand our Channel before the holiday, because we are convinced that the Watch is going to be one of the top gifts of the holiday season.
With Best Buy on board, Apple will get a significant number of stores to complement its own. Best Buy will begin offering the Apple Watch Aug. 7.
What the Best Buy availability will do is give technology buyers more time to evaluate and play with the Apple Watch. Given that consumers and businesses haven't exactly flocked to smartwatches it's unclear whether more Apple Watch availability will help the cause. But putting the Apple Watch in more hands certainly won't hurt.
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The timing of the Best Buy deal is notable. The Apple Watch is set up for a fall tryout with Apple betting on actual purchase for the holiday buying season.
In other words, the ducks are lined up for the Apple Watch. Now we'll see if the smartwatch category---and the Apple Watch---can really deliver the units.