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First Apple Watches Ship and App Store Opens for Business

Tim Maytom

Apple Watch carouselThe first batch of Apple Watches have been delivered to customers who pre-ordered Apple's new wearable, but despite the huge amounts of buzz surrounding the launch, supply on the high street is extremely limited.

Pre-orders for the much sought-after device began two weeks ago, with the first run of more popular models reportedly sold out within a matter of minutes and many customers told to expect shipping delays of over a month due to demand far exceeding Apple's manufacturing capability for the device.

Consumers who were hoping to be able to walk into a store today and pick up an Apple Watch are likely to be sorely disappointed, with Apple stating that there will be no Watches available to buy in its Apple Stores until at least June. Customers will be able to try on the Watch, but staff will prompt them to buy the device online and join the queue of existing orders.

As part of the device's launch, Apple has opened a dedicated App Store for the wearable, with around 3,000 Watch apps initially available, and research by digital marketing agency Greenlight suggesting that 32 per cent of marketers have plans to build an app for the Watch within the next year.

Currently, apps for the Apple Watch will have to work in tandem with an iPhone, splitting many developers on the issue of whether to integrate Apple Watch features into existing apps or develop a separate bit of software purely for the Apple Watch.

Developers have been warned to try to keep interactions on the Watch to 10 seconds or less, both for the comfort of users, who are unlikely to want to spend long periods on the smaller screen, and in order to preserve battery life, which can only sustain around four hours of active use.

apple watch app storeWhile many of the most popular apps have already launched Apple Watch versions, the question remains whether their functionality has any real purpose beyond a new screen to receive notifications on.

We've already covered some of the apps available at launch, including WebMD, myMail and Ladbrokes Australia, and apps like Dark Sky, Evernote, Citymapper and Strava have all been praised for introducing Apple Watch apps that make good use of the new device's capabilities.

"The Apple Watch may be shiny and new, but it's also complete unproven," said Andreas Pouros, COO and co-founder of Greenlight. "There's no telling how consumers will use it or if it will even take off. Building apps for it may pay off, but it's a massive gamble, and one that most marketers aren't willing to take."