The days of long lines of Apple fans queuing outside stores for days ahead of new product releases could be numbered, if a leaked internal memo is to be believed.
Every iPhone and iPad release since 2007 has been accompanied by long lines of expectant fans queuing around the block – often for days and nights – ahead the new gadgets going on sale.
Now it seems Apple is making a direct move to stop the long lines and shunt people to its online storefront.
“The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers,” Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts said in an internal memo sent to Apple store employees leaked to Business Insider. “This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You’ll make their day.”
‘Significant change in mindset’
Beyond encouraging online orders, which start on 10 April for the Apple Watch shipping on 24 April, Apple’s first smartwatch won’t be available directly from an Apple store in the UK, according to reports.
Customers will be able to try on devices in store, but will be directed to kiosks or the Apple website to order their smartwatch. Those looking to pick up an Apple Watch from a store in the US will be able to, but will be discouraged from doing so when buying online.
Long queues on launch days, which lead to stores running out of devices, are a mixed bag for Apple’s public image. They stand to reinforce the popularity of the brand, devices and devotion of fans, but those same fans are often derided by the media and the public for being obsessive.
Stopping people from walking in and buying devices from stores will also serve to prevent grey market reselling, where people buy devices in countries such as the UK or US where they are on sale and ship them to countries where they have yet to be released.
China had one of the biggest grey markets for iPhones until Apple launched in the country with devices that supported the nation’s TD-LTE mobile phone operators, which use a different technology to the majority of the rest of the world.
This article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 7th April 2015 16.00 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010