Come August, Best Buy will officially become the first major Apple Watch retailer outside of the Apple Store itself. This is a bold move by Apple and, undoubtedly, an attempt to further extend the reach of the brand’s smartwatches.
Apple plans to release the watch to an initial 100 Best Buy stores and continue to make the device available to 200 more by the end of the year. Jason Bonfig, a senior category officer at Best Buy, told Bloomberg, “We are excited to bring the Apple Watch to more consumers, especially with the holidays coming up.”
Beginning August 7, Best Buy will offer 16 different models for customers to try on, with different variations of the Sport and Watch editions, 38 millimeter and 42 millimeter sizes, and over 50 different watch accessories according to Best Buy’s statement. It will certainly not be the same experience that early adopters had at the Apple Store, wherein Apple employees brought out the devices in a velvet-lined tray and personally put them on the customers’ wrists.
Since the Apple Watch’s release in April, there have been mixed reports and opinions as to the watch’s impact on the wearables market. Just last week, Apple reported “a $10.7 billion profit on $49.6 billion in revenue in its third quarter.”
Despite many analysts predicting lower sales numbers than what was expected, research firm Strategy Analytics said Apple shipped 4 million units in Q2 ‘15, giving the company a 75% chunk of the smartwatch market. Apple has yet to release specific data on the the watch’s sales, but has said that the watch has sold more units than the iPad and iPhone did at the same point.
As the company continues to develop a wearables strategy, power moves like this partnership with Best Buy can only help when it comes to transitioning the watch from a pricey, privileged device to an accessible, everyday product. It will be particularly interesting to see how the Apple Watch does as a neighbor to the Pebble Time watch, which similarly became available for purchase at Best Buy this summer.