Apple's Asian fans call smartwatch 'pricey,' order it anyway

Apple's Asian fans call smartwatch 'pricey,' order it anyway
A man tries on the Apple Watch at a SoftBank mobile phone store in Tokyo's Shibuya area.

TOKYO -- Some lined up at 4:30 a.m. Some took the day off from work. Some wore masks, perhaps because they did not want their employers to catch a glimpse of them playing hooky. Apple fans in Asia came out Friday morning to try on and reserve the company's latest gadget, the Apple Watch.

"I can't wait to wear the watch to work and casually flash it in front of my colleagues," said Takuya Matsubara, a 26-year-old engineer who joined the queue in front of mobile provider SoftBank's Ginza store in central Tokyo. He envisioned how that scenario would play out: "I'm going to ask them, 'Oh, you don't have it yet?'"

Apple began accepting orders online and at designated stores in Japan, China and Hong Kong. Sales officially begin April 24; prices in Japan start at 42,800 yen ($352).

Isetan Shinjuku, a department store in Tokyo, the same day opened the country's first specialty store dedicated to the Apple Watch. The unseasonably cold weather did not dissuade about 50 customers from waiting in line for the doors to open.

One of the first on the scene, a 30-year-old tourist from China's Guangdong Province who declined to give his name, said he planned to buy the smartwatch for a simple reason. "It's just because it's Apple! I love Apple products, so price is not an issue."

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