The waiting’s almost over for those of you eager to strap an Apple wearable to your wrist, with pre-orders for the Apple Watch starting on April 10 and the device available to buy from April 24. As the on-sale date approaches, we’re seeing a pile of leaked information about how the retail experience will work.
No walk-in sales, for example, so you’ll need an Apple Store appointment to get your hands on a shiny new smartwatch; VIP areas for Apple Watch Edition buyers; and no opportunity to swap bands while you’re actually trying on the device.
Both 9to5Mac and MacRumors claim to have seen training documents and spoken to insiders regarding the upcoming device, giving some indication of how you’ll be able to test and pick up a watch on the 24th. Here are the highlights.
Roll Up, Roll Up
Apple Watch display cases.
If you walk into an Apple Store to buy an Apple Watch, you’re going to need an appointment to be able to try on a device—otherwise you’ll have to join a walk-in queue that staff may or may not get around to.
Once your try-on time with an Apple Watch specialist is booked, you’ll be taken to one of the dedicated display cases to see a full set of Apple Watches put through their paces via a demo loop. You can then choose two to try on.
In the try-on area, Apple is planning secure watch drawers that can only be unlocked by special RFID sensors carried by Apple employees. Again, the demo loops will be in place, but customers can try out the haptic feedback and tested how it feels on the wrist. Mats and cleaning cloths will be available.
Once you’ve gone through this process, you’ll then be offered the chance to buy accessories such as alternative straps and Bluetooth headphones. An extended AppleCare+ program is going to be available, as well as a combined coverage plan for an Apple Watch and an iPhone.
If you’ve reserved a watch in advance, you can walk away with your new purchase. If not, you’ll be invited to make a reservation for your chosen model either in store or online.
The VIP Treatment
Apple Watch Edition.
If you’re planning to spend $10,000 or above on the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, meanwhile, Apple Store staff will treat you like tech royalty. Buyers will be connected straight to an expert adviser, with no need to wait around, and you’ll get a separate try-on area away from the masses spending less on their wearables.
Appointments will be longer and can last up to an hour (rather than 5-15 minutes) if you’re buying the premium model. To reduce the risk of theft, you’ll only be able to try two gold watches at once.
When you’re happy with the deal, your accommodating Apple Store assistant can set up the watch for you, or you can connect to a specialist from home via a video link—these are the kinds of perks that several thousand dollars can get you. 24/7 live video assistance is apparently going to be available for Apple Watch Edition owners.
On the one hand, this all fits in with the noises Apple has been making so far: This is very much a different type of device to an iPad or an iPhone, and the company wants to provide a different type of sales experience too, one that’s much more personal and guided.
On the other hand, the problems Apple has had trying to get its Watch right—and manufactured in sufficient quantities—have been widely reported. It’s also possible that this custom-made, appointment-only system is designed to help the company limit supply until Apple Watch 2.0 is ready to go.
Images courtesy of Apple
This article was written by David Nield from ReadWrite and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.