Apple Confirms: No Walk-In Purchasing for Apple Watch


Apple WatchWell, we knew the Apple Watch was going to be sold in limited quantities on launch day—we just didn’t know how limited, nor how long the limited supply might last. Apple has finally chimed in to give some additional details about the Apple Watch’s big April 24 release date, and you might not be too thrilled if you’re used to just waltzing in to your local Apple Store and doing whatever you want.

First up, take that dream scenario and toss it aside. Apple has officially confirmed to CNET that all Apple Watch sales will require some kind of online reservation, period. You won’t be able to just walk into a store, grab one off the shelf, and buy it day-of. And this isn’t just a launch day peculiarity. Until Apple changes its mind—which it might not—all Apple Watch purchases will require you to make an online reservation if you plan to pick up the device at an Apple Store.

That’s not to say that you’ll only be able to get an Apple Watch at an Apple Store, of course. You can also just have Apple ship the smartwatch to you, if you prefer.

Not only is Apple likely using online reservations to control inventory—and give potential customers a more reasonable expectation of when they might get a new smartwatch—but it’s also being a bit more hands-on about the entire purchasing process in general. Apple likely wants to make sure that potential purchasers know all the options for which specific watch they might want and, just as important, which band and style they might want to go for. It’s a product that requires a bit more hands-on treatment than, say, grabbing a box of the wall and checking out.

Though the Apple Watch might present a somewhat-familiar experience for those used to smartphones, it’s also likely going to require a bit more explaining for those unaccustomed to wearables. Hence Apple’s interest in making the Apple Watch a more personalized shopping experiences for potential purchasers, which is also why you won’t be able to just walk into your local store and jump into a crowd of people all poking at an Apple Watch on a tabletop. Unless your local store isn’t very busy—good luck with that—you’ll have to make a reservation just to have some hands-on time with the device.

And, no, even if you luck out with a walk-in “reservation” for a fitting, you won’t be able to walk away with the specific watch you’re looking to purchase. You’ll still have to place an order online and have it either shipped to you or shipped to an Apple Store, where you’ll be able to pick it up yourself.


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