With sales expectations and customer interest high for the upcoming Apple Watch, the tech giant is putting relatively rigid marketing and sales procedures in place to enable as many customers as possible to get inside its stores, check out the watches and decide what to buy.
In essence, that means it will take a lot more to buy an Apple Watch than a customer just pulling out a credit card and handing it over to a clerk, according to reports. First off, customers will have to schedule appointments to view the devices and will not be able to just wander in to look at them.
In addition, Apple plans on having an assortment of some 18 combinations of watches and watchbands on display in each store, but customers won't have the opportunity to try combinations of watches and bands that are not on display, according to a March 30 report by Business Insider. To keep the flow of customers ongoing, watchband swapping will not be permitted in the stores at the special displays set up for the devices, according to the article.
Apple, which did not respond to an email inquiry from eWEEK seeking comments about its Watch sales procedures, is planning on setting up special tables and displays where customers can examine the new watches. Speed will be important as customers peruse the gadgets because the appointments are scheduled for only to five to 15 minutes each.
The company's luxury versions of the Apple Watch, called the Apple Watch Edition, with a price tag of $10,000, will only be shown to customers through private appointments, Business Insider reported, while lines for that option could be up to one hour long.
The most expensive version of the Apple Watch, the 18-karat gold Edition version, is priced at $17,000 and will not even be available in Apple stores. Instead, these will be sold through select luxury retailers, according to Apple executives at a Watch announcement event earlier in March. Customers buying those expensive Apple Watches will have more personalized services, including an eight-step process that can take as long as an hour to help them better understand the included features while experiencing the watches as a "unique style choice," according to a related Business Insider story.
Preorders for Apple Watches begin on April 10 in the United States, while the devices will be available starting April 24 when they will be viewable in Apple stores, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Standard Apple Watches will start at $549 for a 38mm-wide version or $599 for a 42mm-wide model. Prices for the 38mm version can rise up to $1,049, while prices for the 42mm model can rise up to $1,099, depending on the watch band selected.
The Apple Watch Sport version is available with a silver or space gray aluminum body and with wrist bands in many colors. The regular Apple Watch can be purchased with a fluoroelastomer band or one of three different leather bands.
The first Apple Watches will be sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the United Kingdom, with sales in more nations expected in the future.
The new watches are accurate to within 50 milliseconds of the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) standard, placing them among the world's most accurate time pieces. The Watch can be customized by users with a wide range of watch faces, from formal to modern to digital and even to Mickey Mouse images.
Users can then add the features they desire on the watch faces, including the date, a stopwatch, upcoming meetings and more. Also part of the Apple Watch is a feature called "glances," which brings the information that users want to check often and quickly right to the watch face, so they can see what's needed at just the right time, including music, heart rate, messages and more. In fact, the Apple Watch will be equipped to receive messages right on the user's wrist and allow them to respond using a tap. The built-in speaker and microphone on the Apple Watch will also allow them to receive calls.