The Apple Watch retail experience

Orders are online only for now, but the idea of the Apple Watch try-ons is to help you decide if you really want one and which one you really want. It's a way to get some eyes- and hands-on time with the hardware and software, so you can see the cases, feel the bands, experience the interface and interactions, and get as much of the Apple Watch experience as possible.

When you first walk in you're greeted by a table, wooden like all Apple Retail tables, but with glass covering two rows of Apple Watches, one of 38mm and one of 42mm. They face out from each other, and and are sorted by collection — Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, and Apple Watch edition.

You can take your time and look at them, under glass, as they go through a demo loop that highlights all the Apple Watch functionality. You can also check out the finishes and the bands, and you can get an idea of what you want to try on. It's a great way to get started — letting you see before you touch.

The try-on tables have watches embedded on miniature pedestals. They're not under glass, so you can begin to interact with them. Beside them are specially modified iPad mini tablets running kiosk software, similar to what Apple has been using for a while with the other products in the store like iPhone and Mac. They explain what the Apple Watch is, what it does, and how it does it. It's a step closer to the try-ons and a way for you to start learning more before you actually strap one on.

When the time comes for the try on, an Apple Specialist asks you about your lifestyle and interests, your style and preferences. They want to help you choose the right watch for you. Then, they unlock a hidden drawer beneath the table and take out the Apple Watches with the materials and bands you're most interested in, and help you try them on. All stores have Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport available for try on, the bigger stores may have Apple Watch Edition as well.

A demo loop runs on the watches. Spinning, tapping, or pressing doesn't change anything, but you can see what the software looks like and what the Taptic engine feels like.

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It's very carefully thought out process and even more carefully staged. It walks you from seeing to learning to trying. Given the constraints of Apple Stores as they exist today, it's a remarkably clever way to handle the Apple Watch browsing and buying experience at scale.

It's not quite what you go through for a ride at Disney, but it's not altogether different either.

Apple Watch try-ons are available starting today. Book your appointment online at or using the Apple Store app for the best experience.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.