One of the first Kiwis to get their hands on an Apple Watch following its big release on our shores this morning said the device was everything it was cracked up to be.

Today the Apple Watch debuted in New Zealand to small crowds in Auckland and Wellington.

The official Apple device includes a rectangular touch-screen face, sensors to detect pulse rates and other health-related features and must be paired with an iPhone to work properly.

The watch was released in April to excited crowds, however last month it was announced that sales for the watch had plummeted by 90 per cent.


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Wellingtonian Tim Robb said he has been "itching" to get his hands on a watch since Apple announced they would be going on sale.

He was one of the first in line when doors opened for the 8am launch at Noel Leeming on Tory St in Wellington this morning.

Mr Robb builds iPhone apps full time, and intends to start building apps for the new watch as well. He couldn't hold back his smile at this morning's launch.

"It's not only an awesome gadget it is also something I can play around with and build for."

Mr Robb said the watch was a "neat little device".

"The brilliant thing about it is all of its different notification support, that means I don't have to check my phone constantly... I'm not ignoring people just to keep in touch with people, or keep in touch with work."

Mr Robb said he had also downloaded an online banking app for the watch that would come in handy.


"I can check my back balances and transfer money across when I need to without the kerfuffle of travelling around with my phone which is fantastic.

"Sometimes I put my phone in my actual bag and fishing around for it is a pain. Just having it on my wrist is a huge convenience."

Three Noel Leeming stores, two in Auckland and one in Wellington, are stocking the watch, as well as the online Apple store.

At 7.30am there were 16 people outside Noel Leeming's Queen Street branch and 11 Wellingtonians queuing to make sure they were first through the doors.

Aucklander Abhiroop Saluja, 19, was first in line for the new product in Auckland.

He said had been following the progress of the Apple Watch from the launch in September last year.

He wanted it so he could keep track of calls from his mum, he said, who was waiting in line with him but wouldn't be buying a watch of her own.

"I mainly want it because of the notification function.... It will tell me when someone will be calling."

The price of the product didn't bother him, he said.

"For a solid steel watch... and it's a first-generation product."

Saluja and his mother had arrived at the Noel Leeming Queen St store at 5.40am, expecting a big queue. They went and had

breakfast at McDonalds and came back after 6am and were still the only ones there.

"I was quite surprised," Saluja said.

Ryan Troughton, 22, was at the front of the line in Wellington. After a restless sleep he said he made the decision to wake up, and arrived at 5am.

"I can't wait. I'm just really excited about the watch, I couldn't sleep that well so thought I needed to get here to beat the crowds.

"I wanted to be one of the first people to be able to buy them from the store officially and not from overseas."

Staff from Noel Leeming in Wellington counted down to 8am, and a free sausage sizzle and coffee was available for those who braved the cold to wait in line.

Noel Leeming chief executive Tim Edwards said they were thrilled with this morning's turnout.

"We would have been happy with more than one," he said.

"It's about the opportunity for this store, and for Wellington to have got this watch. It's the physical experience people are excited for."

Mr Edwards said he was confident the store had enough stock to keep up with demand for the rest of the day, and well into the weekend.

"We have had a tremendous amount of interest. It's the eco system. If you're into Apple [products] then this is another part of this eco system."

Mr Edwards said customers who wanted to learn more about the watch today would be offered a 15 minute tutorial from a staff member who had received two days of extensive training in how to use the new gadget.

"That's the point of difference. We are taking a position as a business to make it a lot more about the experience than the transaction."