Apple Watch Edition Perks

9to5Mac reports on some exclusive benefits of Apple Watch Edition:

As such, Apple has created a different purchasing path for potential Edition customers, one that “is intended to be extremely personal, elegant, and purposeful.” It is less time-constrained than the typical Apple Watch appointment, and fully guided by an Apple Store Expert, a salesperson who has received specialized training for working with high-end clientele.

Longer, Private Appointments:
 Apple plans to complete in-store Apple Watch Edition purchases during special appointments within a dedicated, private Apple Watch Edition try-on area. The Apple Watch Edition will have its own try-on table separate from the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport, and the purchasing process will last up to one hour, including 30 minutes for simply trying on the highest end Apple Watch. (There will be 5 to 15-minute appointments for the other models.)

Generally Only Two Watches At Once:
 Customers interested in the Apple Watch Edition can try on up to two distinct gold models at a time; to reduce the risk of theft, employees will need to assess the potential customer and store conditions before bringing a third Watch out simultaneously. If the customer wants to compare the Edition with non-Edition models, the Expert will be able to ask another Apple Store employee to bring over a couple of Sport and stainless steel models on a special “caddy” from the standard Apple Watch display table. Accessories will be offered after a customer has finished trying watches on, but before the purchase transaction is completed.

A Special Station and Chairs:
 Apple will have a special try-on station for the Apple Watch Edition, including a pair of special chairs for the customer, an Edition demo kit holding the watches, and a try-on mat like ones found in jewelry stores. Once the customer decides to purchase the Edition, it can be set up in one of two ways: in-store with the same Expert or via a new service called Virtual Personal Setup.

Virtual Personal Setup:
 Apple will allow a customer to video conference from home with an online Apple Store employee to learn about the Apple Watch. This program will be offered to both Edition and standard stainless steel Apple Watch buyers. However, Apple Watch Edition customers will be given an exclusive, dedicated Apple Watch Edition phone line for two years of 24/7 technical support. With AppleCare+, this is upgraded to three years.

 As Apple has previously noted, walk-in and reservation-based Apple Watch Edition try-ons and sales will not be available at all stores. However, sources say that the Edition can be ordered online and delivered to any store the customer prefers through a special new “Edition Courier-to-Store” program, where a courier will deliver the Edition for try-on and purchase. Alternately, an Apple Store without Editions can schedule a try-on appointment for a customer at any nearby location with stock.

Largest Markets Only, At First:
 While Apple tells employees that the Edition will initially be exclusive to the company’s “largest markets,” the company also says that the device will roll out “gradually” to the rest of the company’s stores. The aforementioned 24/7 Edition support will be in English only at launch, while the special line will be available in all markets in local languages at launch.

No Waiting In Line:
 Unlike stainless steel Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport customers, those seeking to buy the Apple Watch will not have to wait in a line. Sources say that potential Edition buyers will have priority access to assistance, effectively skipping the line of other waiting customers. Experts will be able to help a couple of customers try-on Watches simultaneously, unlike standard employees who will simultaneously help as many stainless steel and Sport customers as necessary.

I’m personally a bit perplexed about some of the decisions they’re making with the Edition. This is a new product that is great – with a luxurious material in Gold. However, using price to justify treating certain customers better than others seems wrong to me.

I personally don’t care for the Edition and I can understand wanting a luxury experience if you are paying for it – but I’m curious to see how this will play out. It seems against what Apple has stood for in the past. 

How will customers, waiting hours for a sport or stainless steel model, react when someone comes in to get a gold model and skips the line? Some will not care. Others will be angry. Some might switch to Android or something else. It reminds me, somewhat, of tiered data in which carriers charge for going over or slow your connection speeds to squeeze more money from you. 

I am glad Apple kept the function and capability the same across all models differentiating only by materials. Still, I don’t know what to think when it comes to these (still rumored) proposed changes to customer service and making it a priority to serve those who can afford an Edition over Apple’s large fanbase which consists of a great deal of middle class folks as well as wealthy customers. I spend a ton of money on Apple products. Every year, I upgrade a bunch of older products. iPhones. iPads. Macs. Other products. I even get Apple Care Plus. Why shouldn’t I get better treatment? By now, with all the money I have spent, I’m practically family – why don’t I get 24/7 exclusive status treatment?

As a potential Sports or Steel buyer, why should I be treated less equal than someone willing to spend more? Status and promoting it has always been a hallmark of Apple products, but this seems like it’s on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I used to be a PC guy. I used to love my Blackberry. Then my Android devices. I always loved Apple products. I came back to iPhone after having some strange and horrendous issues with Android devices. They never matched what Apple was able to accomplish for me. I have played with the Android Wear devices and they seem like a toy. Apple Watch seems like a well thought out product that will make a real difference in people’s lives. 

That’s what makes it all the more strange. On stage, Tim Cook seemed a little nervous and awkward briefly mentioning it. They skipped the video of the making of the Edition and quietly posted it online. Most of the executive team uses the stainless steel model. They introduced research kit to improve the lives of everyone on earth. Now this? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really understand why they would do this. 

I get it financially. I get it as a business move. I get it as a luxury move. I just don’t get it as an Apple customer and loyal user. 

Tim Cook leads Apple into the future

Fortune has a great piece on Tim Cook’s leadership at Apple and life after Steve Jobs:

Cook’s defiant, confident tone reflects the CEO he has become. No one guards Apple’s distinct corporate culture—a culture designed by Jobs—more fiercely than Cook. Yet he also is gradually tweaking Apple at its edges, leading the company where he wants to take it, adding his unique perspective, and subtly but clearly redefining Apple in his image. It isn’t clear if Jobs would have approved or disapproved. But the enigmatic founder himself, in his dying days, told Cook that he shouldn’t obsess over trying to channel Jobs when making decisions. Given that, the question of what Jobs would have thought of where Cook is leading the company is, in the end, beside the point.

Worth the read. 

Fantastical 2 for Mac

I love the iPhone and iPad versions and this is by far one of my favorite calendar apps. The Mac version is a great addition. If you want an in-depth review, there’s a great look at it over at MacStories.

From the review:

Fantastical was a powerful calendar assistant. Four years later, Flexibits wants Fantastical 2 for Mac – their latest creation years in the making – to be the only calendar app you’ll ever need. While the original Fantastical was a companion to the full Apple iCal experience, Fantastical 2 reinvents itself as a full-blown calendar client that retains the most important aspects of the app’s debut and adds a whole new calendar interface to the mix. And in the process, it exudes the finesse and attention to detail that Simmons and Sutherland are known for.

Get it here

Next Apple TV in June

BuzzFeed reports that Apple will debut its new TV set top box:

As for the new Apple TV box itself, expect an updated design and new innards: the company’s latest A8 system-on-chip — or a variant of it: a dramatic increase in on-board storage to accommodate app — well beyond the 8GB in the current device; and an improved operating system that will support Siri voice control of Apple TV, and enable it remotely for a selection of Homekit-enabled home automation devices, as earlier reports have suggested. Presumably it will also feature a new remote. 

I have heard the same in terms of timing, which makes sense given their plans to introduce an AppStore for it. I think it’s been way too long for a refresh – the current model is over 2 years old – and gathering dust as we wait for more capable models. It’s no wonder why they dropped the price during their Spring Forward event. Still, I love the Apple TV and I’m looking forward to the next step in its evolution. 

Apple Watch Testing Lab Revealed

Apple revealed its intense and somewhat futuristic testing lab for the Apple Watch via ABC. It’s a pretty interesting look into how intensely they tested it out under a variety of conditions. Also interesting is that they showed off similar testing labs for iPhone 4 and other products – but usually after a public “-gate” outcry. From “antenna-gate” to “scratch-gate” to “bend-gate”, usually every Apple product launch is accompanied by some overblown controversy. I suspect this is an effort to downplay any such potential outcry. It’ll be interesting to see how launch goes and how long it takes people to invent some issues. While, there are definitely issues with all products, Apple typically attracts the most unwarranted outcry when something springs up. Fortunately, they also typically do the right thing by their customers. I can’t wait for 24th of April, so I can try out the Apple Watch myself. 

Fast Company Interviews Tim Cook

Insightful interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook over Fast Company

This caught my eye, given recent complaints about the quality of Their software:

In my mind, there is nothing that’s incorrect about our model. It’s not that it’s not doable, it’s that we’re human sometimes, and we make an error. I don’t have a goal of becoming inhuman, but I do have a goal of not having any errors. We’ve made errors in the past, and we’ll never be perfect. Fortunately, we have the courage to admit it and correct it.

It’s pretty lengthy, but has a lot of interesting details that highlight the core of Tim Cook’s Apple. 

The Real Steve Jobs

Fast Company has a very tender and moving excerpt from Becoming Steve Jobs that offers a portrait of how the real Steve Jobs differs from the one often portrayed – even in his own authorized biography – by those who knew him best. 

“This picture of him isn’t understood,” says Cook. “I thought the [Walter] Isaacson book did him a tremendous disservice. It was just a rehash of a bunch of stuff that had already been written, and focused on small parts of his personality. You get the feeling that [Steve’s] a greedy, selfish egomaniac. It didn’t capture the person. The person I read about there is somebody I would never have wanted to work with over all this time. Life is too short.”

Read the whole piece here