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How to Buy an Apple Watch: Appointments, Displays, Demos

March 30, 2015
Personal Finance
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Most customers looking to buy an Apple Watch at retail stores will have to make an appointment and get a detailed demo complete with instructional videos and special display and try-on areas.

But those considering the high-end Apple Watch Edition, which can run more than $10,000, can walk right in to get a one-hour, private tour of the mobile device with no waiting.

Those are the details emerging in advance of the Apple Watch release date — April 24.

Announced in detail earlier this month, the Apple Watch will come in three versions: Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition. Prices will range from $349 for the Sport to $10,049 and up for the Edition.

Apple-centric blog 9to5Mac is reporting, via sources briefed on the plans, that the Apple Watch buying process will be different than for any other Apple product.

After customers book an appointment online or through the Apple mobile app, they’ll get a specialist to walk them through the process at one of the special display tables installed in Apple Stores specifically for the rollout. The watches in the display will run a demo loop showing off the device’s features, the report said.

Customers will be allowed to choose up to two versions of Watch to try on at another special area. If they don’t have a model reserved, they’ll then be able to order one in the store or via the App Store app. (Pre-orders begin April 10.)

Walk-in customers who don’t have an appointment will be able to sign up on a waiting list and be notified when it’s their turn — a process similar to that used by Apple Stores’ “Genius Bar” tech support area.

The Apple Watch Edition will have its own shopping experience, devised by a team Apple hired from the likes of luxury brands Yves St. Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Burberry.

From the moment they walk in the store, potential Edition buyers will embark on a longer, personalized “journey” that can last up to an hour. The tour of the watch will be with an employee specifically trained to work with high-end customers. In some stores, there will even be special chairs reserved for the sales pitch and try-on.

9to5Mac also reports that at-home videoconferencing will be available to Apple Watch Edition customers and that they’ll receive 24/7 customer support for the devices.

The 18-karat gold Edition, which will be available in limited quantities in select markets, will come with one of a custom line of designer watch bands.

Apple Watch also will work with the Apple Pay mobile payments system. On Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Pay, which started with deals with six banks, now has partnered with more than 2,500 banks. He also said 700,000 retail locations, including vending machines, now accept payments via the system.

Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @doug_gross and on Google+.

Image from Apple Store in New York via iStock.