It's a familiar sight: Apple unveils a new product, and excited fans flock to its retail stores ahead of launch day, eager to be among the first people to get their hands on the new device. Indeed, it's a sight that many other companies look upon with jealous eyes, wishing their customers were similarly keen to buy their products - but it seems that Apple isn't quite as happy about it as one might imagine.
In fact, Apple's head of retail, Angela Ahrendts, would much rather customers place orders for its new devices through the company's website, rather than turning up at its stores.
In a memo that she wrote to Apple Store staff, a copy of which was obtained by Business Insider, she described this new direction as "a significant change in mindset" for Apple - and it extends not just to the launch of its Watch this week, but also to other devices, such as its new MacBook.
In fact, in the UK, you won't be able to pick up an Apple Watch in store at all. Even if you turn up at an Apple Store in the UK to buy a Watch, a member of staff will simply order the device for you online and then have it delivered to you at home.
In the US, customers will be permitted to pick up their Watch in store, but only 'if they insist', according to the report.
Potential customers curious about the Watch won't even be able to casually walk in to an Apple Store and play with the device. The Watches will be displayed in glass cases, meaning that you won't be able to just pick one up and try it out like you can with iPhones and other devices in the Store; unless you have an appointment - which you'll have to book online - the Watch will remain out of your reach.
In her memo, Ahrendts told staff that they should direct customers to visit Apple.com: "The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers... Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You'll make their day."
This isn't the first time we've heard about changes to Apple's retail approach when it comes to its new Watch. Last month, it emerged that the company's Store staff will be encouraged to spend more time with customers thinking of buying the device, and even to offer fashion guidance, to ensure that customers buy the right Watch model to go with their personal style.
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