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Technology

Apple Watch in Muted Debut Without Crowds in Europe and Asia

For the debut of Apple's watch, Tim Cook wanted to overcome the endless lines fans have grown used to with any new product. It worked a little too well.

From London to Beijing, Apple stores saw few customers lined up before opening Friday as pre-orders started. The first new gadget under Chief Executive Officer Cook is selling in eight countries and Hong Kong, with shipments scheduled to start April 24. By early Friday, New Yorkers couldn’t get appointments to try on a watch until early afternoon.

It’s part of Cook’s plan to end the long lines outside Apple stores that have become a hallmark of rollouts. Die-hard fans have even been mocked by competitors in TV commercials. Online, however, the company began taking orders Friday at about 3:10 a.m. in New York and on Twitter users cheered their successful purchases.

Musician Katy Perry posted a photo on Instagram of the $17,000, 18-karat gold watch with a bright red modern buckle and a Mickey Mouse motif on the face. Apple’s website at around 8 a.m. in New York said that version wouldn’t be available until June.

Less prominent consumers also noted their victories. “Got it!!!” Gregg Mojica tweeted at 3:16am. “Yes, preordered my #AppleWatch.”

Apple may get 300,000 pre-orders in the first 24 hours and may sell 1 million watches during the opening weekend, including those early orders, according to Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. He’s estimating the company may sell 8 million units this fiscal year, generating $4.4 billion in revenue.

Apple received 4 million pre-orders of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus during its first 24 hours in September and sold more than 10 million during the first weekend, a record.

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