Apple Watch sells out for at least next 4 weeks

Apple Watch pre-orders off to a strong start

Time was of the essence for hopeful Apple Watch owners: Just hours after the launch of the device, all models appear to be sold out for at least the next four to six weeks.

Pre-orders for Apple's smartwatch began at 12:01 a.m. PDT Friday. Although the watch will be released April 24, many people will have to wait a lot longer before they'll actually have them on their wrists.

Just 10 minutes after midnight, the shipping date for the black Apple Watch Sport was already estimated to be the middle of next month. A few minutes later, the time frame was pushed to late May.

By 12:40 a.m., the Apple Watch Edition -- the most high-end of the three models -- in rose gold showed a ship date of July. For the yellow-gold version, which ranges in price from $10,000 to $17,000 depending on the strap, it was even longer: August. By 8:30 a.m., the yellow-gold with a red strap and the rose-gold case with a matching strap no longer had an option to buy.

In China, nearly every Apple Watch edition was listed as “out of stock,” tweeted Ben Thompson, founder of Stratechery, a tech blog.

The best bet for customers who want an Apple Watch on their wrists before the summer are the stainless steel versions, which start at $549. Several options had estimated shipping dates of four to six weeks as of 8:30 a.m. PDT, though many were sold out.

#AppleWatch was trending on Twitter as shoppers flooded the microblogging site to gloat -- or lament -- about their orders.

"Awesome. Everyone ordered the same 42mm Space Grey #AppleWatch Sport," tweeted David Nitzsche. "We did this to ourselves."

Shortly before midnight, Glenville Morris ‏tweeted: "#applewatch 3 laptops, my iPad mini and 6Plus all on the Apple Store app or the site. Pre-order nerves. Hold me!"

The start of pre-orders also means that shoppers can begin signing up for appointments to try on the watch at Apple's retail stores. The move marks a big shift for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, which is expected to have to evolve its tech-geared stores into a more fashion-focused luxury experience.

Early Friday morning, it appeared the try-on appointments were also in high demand.

Shortly before 1 a.m., the Apple Store at the Grove shopping center was still showing three appointments for Friday, and several for Saturday and Sunday. But by 1:05 a.m., the calendar was down, replaced by a message that said: "This service is currently unavailable. Please try again later."

By 8 a.m., all Friday appointments were booked, with more available on Saturday and Sunday.

Earlier in the week, Apple said it expected to sell out of its initial supply of the Apple Watch at launch. With the iPhone, Apple often releases first weekend pre-order sales numbers on Monday, so expect to see some indication next week of how big Apple Watch pre-orders were. 

Follow Andrea Chang on Twitter

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

8:58 a.m.: This article has been updated with additional details.

This article was originally published at 1:47 a.m.

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