Apple Watch Launches
The large crowds missing from this photo could return for future Apple product launches. Luke Villapaz

The one thing missing from the launch of the Apple Watch is the throngs of people lining up for blocks at Apple Inc.’s retail stores for a chance to get their hands on a new product from Cupertino. This was largely because Apple shifted its preorder process entirely online, with no in-store stock expected at launch. But don’t get used to it -- the company isn’t prepared to abandon its old ways just yet, Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts told staff in a memo obtained by the Telegraph.

“I know this is a different experience for our customers and a change for you as well,” she wrote. “Are we going to launch every product this way from now on? No. We all love those blockbuster Apple product launch days -- and there will be many more to come.” Whether or not that means Apple plans to abandon an Apple Watch-style launch for all future products remains to be seen.

As previously announced by Apple, Ahrendts also reiterated that no in-store purchases will be accommodated when the Apple Watch begins shipping on April 24, due to high global demand and short supply. In lieu of that, she suggested staff members should help customers place their Apple Watch orders online. Apple is expecting the lack of in-store stock to continue at least through May.

Ahrendts' remarks are in line with a research note issued to investors by KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo, who expects Apple Watch production to top 2.3 million units by the end of May. Barring any bottlenecks, he believes production could see an increase to 2 million to 3 million units starting in June.