Edging the Apple Watch closer to impulse-buy status, Apple Watch models are now in stock at many Apple retail stores. Previously, the only way to order a watch was to do so online, and have it delivered by mail. You still need to initiate an order online, but now you can reserve a watch model and, if it’s in stock, pick it up the same day. Many watch bands are also available in stores for off-the-shelf purchase.
At the online Apple Store or using the Apple Store app on an iOS device, you can choose the model you want and check reservation availability for retail Apple Stores in your area. (Only stores that have your desired model in stock appear in the pop-ups for choosing state and store location.)
If it’s available, you need to send a text message containing a custom code, which returns a registration code that is active for 30 minutes. From there you choose a pickup time and then head to the store. Although the process sounds involved, it’s designed to cut down on the number of people buying merchandise in-store who then turn around and sell it to gray market dealers. Reservations begin at 8:00 AM local time, and the watch must be picked up the same day. There’s also a limit of one watch per customer.
As you might expect, not all models are available in all locations, but now I know which Apple Store I could pop into on my lunch break to pick up a 42mm Apple Watch Edition. (And while you’re waiting for your pick-up time, you can read my book “Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course,” just updated to version 1.1 with everything essential about the watch!)