Speaking at the Berlin flagship Apple Store last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees that the Apple Watch will not be exclusive to the United States in April, according to employees in attendance. Specifically, Cook said that the Apple Watch will launch in Germany during the month of April. It’s possible that the Apple Watch will launch first in the United States in early April, with Germany and other countries following later in the month, but it definitely appears that the Watch’s rollout will be more aggressive than the first iPhone and iPad launches…
The iPhone was notably exclusive to the United States and AT&T for the first several months of the product’s life, while the iPad launched exclusively in the U.S. in April 2010 and was followed by launches in Europe and Australia over a month later, in mid-May of that year. Besides Germany, sources indicate that an April launch in Australia is also likely as Apple has already been training select Apple Retail employees on Apple Watch sales procedures by way of secret briefings in Sydney. The United Kingdom and France have both seen Apple Watch marketing pushes, so those countries are likely also in the April mix.
The usual first wave countries for major Apple product launches also includes Canada, where Apple is soon planning to launch the Watch-compatible Apple Pay system, but we haven’t yet confirmed if those countries will be home to the new product in April. Apple has been heavily promoting the Apple Watch in China, so perhaps the wearable will launch to the Chinese market in or around April as well. However, launches in China could be delayed due to government regulatory factors. During his trip to Germany, Cook also stopped by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office to discuss consumer privacy and the offices of BILD to discuss Apple rumors, Steve Jobs, and the NSA.
Asked if employees will get free Apple Watches (like when full time employees got original iPhones from Steve Jobs in 2007), Cook reportedly said “you’ve given me something to think about, I agree with your point, I think it’s great, and I think everyone should use our products. It’s a good point for me to think about, I’ve got some more plane rides to think about it on.” Cook also discussed the expansion of Apple Pay into Europe, reportedly saying:
Apple Pay will be global, it’s not a U.S. program. We want it everywhere. We are working to bring it out of the US. It is going to take a little bit of time to do so. We want to be in Germany. We want to be in Europe generally this year. I don’t know if we will make it, I think we will. It’s our intention to get here as fast as we can.