Apple preps basic and fancy shopping experiences for Watch buyers

30 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple preps basic and fancy shopping experiences for Watch buyers.

When Apple debuted the gold-cased Apple Watch Edition in early March, it made clear it was selling prestige and luxury. Buying an Apple Watch won’t be as simple as wandering into your local Apple Store and pointing out the device you want, like it is with most other Apple products.New Apple releases are usually accompanied by lines of fans outside their stores waiting patiently to be the first to get their hands on the tech icon’s latest gizmo.Apple’s most expensive Apple Watch starts at $10,000 — but the high-rollers among us can start getting their money’s worth before they even drop the cash.

Apple has expanded its trade-in program, which offers credit towards new device purchases in exchange for older hardware, to non-Apple smartphones and PCs (via 9to5Mac). News of the program expansion comes from changed language on Apple Store pages describing the reuse and recycle initiative on Apple’s U.S., UK, Canada and some other European store sites. As Will Oremus wrote in Slate at the time, the elite who purchase the fanciest Apple Watch will “get the chance to own an Apple product that the plebes can’t afford. Meanwhile, shoppers interested in the Apple Watch Sport (starting $349) and Apple Watch (starting $549) will have to wait in line or book an appointment. The trade-in program is operated by third-party partners to Apple, which helps explain why they’d also be interested in securing older non-Apple hardware for refurbishment.

If you’re interested in dropping some serious cash on a watch, Apple will set you up with an hour-long personalized appointment away from the riff-raff trying on the lower-priced models. Expanding the program also helps Apple add incentives for switchers looking to come over to either iOS or Mac from a different platform, including Android and Windows. There’ll be no lines, private lessons for users and 24-hour support for those buying the high-end version of its soon-to-be-released smart watch, according to documents seen by tech site 9to5Mac. The customer service doesn’t end there: Edition buyers get a dedicated support phone line for two years, in case they need assistance with their watch. One thing to ponder: Could such private, hands-on treatment ultimately help Apple not just in selling luxury to its richest consumers, but also in avoiding offending its middle-of-the-road ones?

PC trade-ins appear to be fairly broad in terms of what’s included, but it’s liable to change on a country-to-country basis, as Apple has different partners in each region for its credit swapping programs. After all, it’s a bit harder to resent the guy buying a $17,000 watch—not to mention the store selling it—if you don’t have to witness the spectacle of him cutting the queue and trying on such an opulent timepiece in front of all the other customers. Regular Apple Watch and Watch Edition buyers will also receive online setup assistance from virtual experts who can walk them through pairing the iPhone to the watch and installing apps.

If you want to skip the whole try-on/demo rigmarole, 9to5Mac’s sources say a purchase station will be set up for people to buy and set up their watches without any extra help. Trying one on in person has the potential to turn doubters into believers, like it did for Macworld Executive Editor Susie Ochs, which is why Apple is putting so much effort into the in-store experience.

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