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Inside Apple's gigantic Apple Watch rollout

Mike Elgan | March 24, 2015
The Apple Watch may or may not be an impressive piece of design or technology. But one thing is certain: Apple's preparations for retail sales of the watch are amazing.

One zone will be for trying on the Sport edition and the regular stainless steel version.

A second zone will have two lines for sales: One for people who have chosen a watch to buy, and another for those undecided.

A third zone will have employees whose job is to explain and answer questions about the Apple Watch.

A fourth zone will have super experts, and their job will be to help customers interested in the gold watches in the Edition collection.

New try-on stations

According to 9to5mac.com, each Apple Store will have a special demo table for Apple Watches, surrounded by try-on stations where people who make appointments can spend 15 minutes trying on watches, to check out different sizes and bands. (The watch doesn't ship until April 24, but the try-on stations will go into operation April 10.)

Newly designed charging cable and bracelet

An FCC application has revealed that Apple designed a new kind of charging bracelet and cable, exclusively for use in its store displays. Each cable can charge 10 Apple Watches at once. Each attached bracelet holds a watch snugly but allows for easy removal. The purpose of the cables is to minimize the number of cables and visual clutter.

New security infrastructure turns every Apple Store into a jewelry store

Apple has reportedly designed custom blast-proof safes that have chargers inside for storing and charging the watches at night, so if crooks break into an Apple Store, they won't be able to nab the goods.

That same 9to5mac report says that Apple is installing highly accurate scales inside its stores, so if an Edition watch is returned, employees can weigh it to make sure no gold was shaved off.

It also stands to reason that Apple has taken all kinds of other steps to ensure the security of the watches. After all, 100 of the cheapest gold models of the Apple Watch would have a collective retail value of $1 million.

The company will have to use armored cars to move them from place to place.

Jewelry stores often have armed guards. It's possible that Apple Stores will — though the guards will likely be positioned in the back, observing shoppers through cameras.

Also: Apple will need to manage inventory carefully — it will want to limit the number of watches in any one store while also making sure there's a ready supply, so anyone who wants one can buy one. That means the company will probably store Edition watches somewhere nearby, and that location will have to be very secure.

There's no question that Apple is very serious about succeeding with the Apple Watch. The retail changes alone suggest that the company is truly going big on the launch, and that it plans to be in it for the long haul.

It's going to be impressive to see all this in action starting April 10, when the try-on and pre-order processes begin, and also after April 24, when the watch will be available to the public.

 

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