It’s a slight understatement to say that people were excited about the Apple Watch. Apple is said to have received 1.7 million pre-orders, and the company warned that in-store availability would be limited to trying the watch on — if you wanted to buy one, it had to be online.
Last month we reported that Apple was preparing an in-store pickup program, with the Apple Watch making its way to stores sometime in June. Today that program, dubbed Reserve & Pickup, is rolling out in the U.S., U.K., Australia and more, 9to5 Mac reports.
The new program allows customers to select a case and band combination online, as has always been the case, but now they will be able to view the combination in-store before completing the purchase. This ensures users are happy with their selection, and it also gets closer to the instant gratification that online-only orders lack.
This doesn’t mean that users are given carte blanche with the new system: only one reservation can be made at a time, and there is a limited window of time before the reserved combination is returned to stock.
The program is slated to launch in the U.S. sometime today. The Reserve & Pickup page is available on the U.S. Apple Store website, but at the time of this writing reservations can’t yet be made. Reservations are expected to become available sometime after 8:00 a.m. ET.
This is a step up in terms of availability, but it still doesn’t quite match the availability of the iPhone, where customers can assume that any Apple Store will carry every variant. Availability will still be sparse, and a message on Apple’s Reserve & Pickup page warns “due to high demand, it’s possible this watch will become unavailable before you confirm your reservation.”
There will likely be some initial kinks in the process, but even so, it’s never been easier to buy an Apple Watch, and that’s got to be worth something.