Apple so badly wants iOS developers to envision, create and offer new apps for its upcoming Apple Watch that the company is making special offers to some developers via email so they can buy one of the sold-out devices quickly and receive it by April 28 to begin their development work.
The special purchase offers, which will allow the selected developers to buy a 42mm Apple Watch Sport with a blue sport band, apparently began going out to developers on April 21, according to reports.
"Special Opportunity for an Expedited Apple Watch Order," the email states. "We want to help give Apple developers the opportunity to test their WatchKit apps on Apple Watch as soon as it is available. You have the chance to purchase one (1) Apple Watch Sport with 42mm Silver Aluminum Case and Blue Sport Band that's guaranteed to ship by April 28, 2015."
The chance to buy and receive one of the watches is being offered by random selection, according to Apple, and quantities are limited. Participating developers must register for the random selection process by 1 p.m. EDT on April 23 and Apple will notify selected applicants on that day.
At least one recipient of the special emails, software developer and student Kevin Chen of New York, posted the email's contents on Twitter to announce his receipt of the offer. "Just got this email. Apple trying to get rid of extra Watch stock by selling to devs w/ guaranteed delivery?" he wrote in an April 21 tweet.
The Apple Watch is almost here, with the first deliveries to retail customers starting on April 24. Preorders for the devices began on April 10, and many model color, strap and materials combinations sold out quickly. Notes posted by Apple on the Apple Watch Web page showed shipping times sliding into May and June for many models, making it clear that demand would far outstrip supply for quite a while after the first watches became available to consumers on their release day, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
The smartwatches start at $349 for the Apple Watch Sport version, which is available with a silver or space-gray aluminum body and with wristbands in many colors.
The standard Apple Watch starts at $549 for a 38mm-wide version or $599 for a 42mm-wide model. Prices for the 38mm version can rise up to $1,049, while prices for the 42mm model can go up to $1,099, depending on the watchband selected. The regular Apple Watch can be purchased with a fluoroelastomer band or one of three different leather bands.
The company's luxury version of the Apple Watch is the Apple Watch Edition, with a price tag of $10,000. The most expensive version of the Apple Watch, the 18-karat gold Edition version, is priced at $17,000.
The strong preorders and the quick demise of fast-shipping units recently had some Wall Street analysts predicting that Apple will soon be pumping up production figures for the new smartwatches so that the company can catch up with the orders.
Meanwhile, digital commerce research firm Slice Intelligence reported on April 12 that its consumer survey data showed that Apple took about 957,000 preorders for Apple Watches on the first day that orders were being taken. Online buyers who placed their preorders spent an average of $503.83 per Apple Watch, with shoppers who preordered the less-expensive Sport model spending about $382.83 per watch, according to Slice Intelligence. Buyers of the standard Apple Watch spent about $707.04 per watch, according to the data.
About 62 percent of preorder buyers ordered the less-expensive Sport model, the data confirmed. Most buyers across the range opted for larger 42mm cases, while the most popular type of case was the space-gray aluminum case, which was chosen by 40 percent of Apple Watch buyers, according to the figures.
The smartwatch marketplace is getting more crowded as more device makers build and market their own styles of watches. LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Apple and Huawei are among the vendors today selling smartwatches, and that field is likely to continue to grow.
While Apple Watches are now on display inside Apple stores, customers have to sign up for appointments ahead of time so they can see the devices, try them on, and test out their functions and features. The first Apple Watches will be sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the United Kingdom, and sales in more nations are expected in the future.
Users can then add the features they desire on the watch faces, including the date, a stopwatch, upcoming meetings and more. Also part of the Apple Watch is a feature called "glances," which brings the information that users want to check often and quickly right to the watch face, so they can see what's needed at just the right time, including music, heart rate, messages and more. In fact, the Apple Watch will be equipped to receive messages right on the user's wrist and allow them to respond using a tap. The built-in speaker and microphone on the Apple Watch will also allow them to receive calls.