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.
Courier-to-Store: 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.