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« Video: Apple Watch in-store preview experience | Main | Star Wars digital movie collection is now available »
Friday
Apr102015

How the Apple Watch in-store preview process works

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Having this one-on-one interaction with another human being and being able to get up close and personal with the watches changes a lot of perceptions one might have. Looking at photos and videos doesn't do justice to how the watch looks and feels in real life.

Toronto: Select journalists were invited to experience the Apple Watch in-store preview process. Taking place at the Eaton Centre Apple Retail Store this morning, interested customers who procured an appointment with Apple specialists we're given the opportunity to look at the various Apple Watch Editions, try them on for size, as well as deliberate on which strap or bracelet to outfit their new wearable.

Apple doesn't ship the Watch until April 24 but pre-orders for the Watch began earlier this morning. Supplies for various Apple Watch models are constrained and even those who got in early on pre-orders will be getting their Watches sometime in June.

Once a customer comes for their appointment. They pass over a glass covered display which shows the entire line of Watch, Sport and Edition edition Apple Watches. They can gaze and choose the ones they think they want before heading over to where an associate escorts them to a special table.

Using a sensor in their handheld credit card reader, the associate unlocks a drawer that slides out to showcase various Apple Watch models of different sizes and editions comfortable nestled in their pods and connected to their charging ports.

The Apple Store associate tries to determine what the customers want and they personally let you try on and fit the different Watches and corresponding bracelets. I tried the Stainless Steel 42mm model with the metal band, Milanese Loop and the leather band. I also tried the smaller Watch with the white fluoroelastomer band. 

Having this one-on-one interaction with another human being and being able to get up close and personal with the watches changes a lot of perceptions one might have. Looking at photos and videos doesn't do justice to how the watch looks and feels in real life. The things that surprised me the most were the kight weight of the Sport version, the level of detail and integration on the watch as well as how organic and natural it does feel on one's wrist.

I strongly suggest that anyone that's thinking of buying the Watch go through the preview process. Since you're spending a considerable amount of money on a personal device, you might as well make sure you get the one you want. Buyers remorse for jewellery is likely the worst kind and the Apple Watch really does fall into this category of a premium lifestyle product.

I had wanted to order the smaller-sized Watch thinking it would fit me just fine and hoping I could save some money and still get everything the device offers. Getting to try both sizes out gave made it clear that the larger size was a better fit for me.

I also really wanted the metal band but after trying it and the Milanese loop, which is made out of magnetic chainmail, I realized the loop gave me a more precise and comfortable fit. It was also good to get objective feedback from the associate who wasn't pushing one Edition over another but simply riffing off my input and genuinely helping me get the different watches fitted. 

One thing about the early preview experience at the Apple Store, the atmosphere around the Watch is almost like a bazaar and you can't help curious people getting in on you private preview and wanting to touch the watch or ask questions. Once they're told that it is an appointment-only arrangement, they mostly go about their business.

Apple Retail Stores have been redesigned around Apple Watch and the in-store preview process. The space once occupied by iPad and iPod has been somewhat cleared to focus on Apple's newest product category.

Online orders are now the de facto way to order an Apple Watch and we won't be seeing long lines in stores unless those are lines of people picking up watches that they already paid for and have previously tried on and previewed. This changes the dynamic of Apple Retail Stores as well as how consumers try and choose which Apple Watch they want to buy.

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