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Apple Watch purchases are online-only at launch

Apple Watch purchases are online-only at launch

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Don't plan on camping outside of an Apple Store to grab a Watch later this month. Apple has announced that Watch purchases will only be taken online during its "initial launch period." It doesn't say how long that'll be, but it's likely to stay that way until they're in greater supply. "We expect that strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch," Angela Ahrendts, Apple's retail chief, says in a statement. Ahrendts says that the decision to keep orders online was made "to provide the best experience and selection to as many customers as we can." Customers will still be able to try on the Apple Watch in stores beginning this Friday.

Tired campers do not suggest high fashion

The shift to online sales was hinted at in a leaked memo earlier this week, which suggested that Apple doesn't want people lining up in front of its stores anymore. At least in part, that seems to be a matter of better handling the distribution of its initial stock, which is typically in short supply. It may also limit how many devices resellers are able to grab. But there may be another part to the story: Apple has been trying to reshape its image as a high-end fashion brand — Ahrendts was previously the CEO of Burberry — and having a line of tired campers in front of your store for hours on end does not say high fashion.

Read next: Read our Apple Watch review.

Preorders for the Watch begin after midnight tonight in California, with deliveries beginning two weeks later, on April 24th. That also makes it sound as though orders may only be eligible for home delivery, and not in-store pickup. If you're planning to order, be sure to read our full review of the Apple Watch.