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Papers please: Apple's reservation-only Watch buying aims for enthusiastic evangelists

Gregg Keizer | April 7, 2015
'Apple doesn't want people walking in and buying the wrong thing on impulse,' says analyst.

Another reason for the Watch's different buying experience may be to "gate" the expected tight initial supply -- a typical problem for Apple -- said Dawson, who suspects that the reservation-only system will be temporary, with the rules relaxed or restrictions lifted if the device takes off or when supply matches demand.

"Some parts of this model will carry on, I think, but others will not be required longer term," said Dawson.

Apple has dabbed with personalized shopping before, but on much more limited basis: It currently has a $99-per-year program dubbed "One to One," which includes old-to-new Mac data migration and an hour-long one-on-one training session. Apple store personnel will also assist customers in moving their data and apps to a new iPhone free of charge.

Apple will begin taking Watch pre-orders online at 12:01 a.m. PT Friday, April 10, and in its retail stores that same day. The latter requires an appointment.


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