Consumers excited for the Apple Watch have made it from the first tease in September, to the official announcement in March, to the preorder opening April 10, and finally to the real-life on-sale date.
Apple's first smartwatch began shipping Friday, fulfilling the estimated 1 to 2 million preorders the company received in the last two weeks. Or some of them, anyway, as unforeseen backups -- or clever marketing -- caused delays in delivery estimates of up to six weeks for many buyers.
When the Apple Watches do start landing on wrists, they'll have plenty to prove. Many people are, for instance, already miffed about the watch's one-day battery life. And the fact that it needs to be paired with an iPhone 5 or 6 in order to work seems all the more disappointing in the wake of Google's announcement this week that the new version of its Android Wear smartwatch operating system will connect to Wi-Fi, enabling some watches to work independent of a phone.
Over at CNET, the bottom line on the Apple Watch showed admiration sprinkled with skepticism: "The Apple Watch is the most ambitious, well-constructed smartwatch ever seen, but first-gen shortfalls make it feel more like a fashionable toy than a necessary tool."
"It has to really make a case for itself," said CNET's Iyaz Akhtar.
As a new product type for Apple, the watch doesn't have the proven traction of an iPhone -- nor does it come anywhere near the phone's need-ability. You feel you can't live without a phone. The same can't be said of a watch that also can't live without a phone.
"The hype's been a little low for it considering it's an Apple product," said Ahktar. And it still could fail to live up to it.