How to Rent the Apple Watch Before Buying It
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Consumers who are on the fence about buying the Apple Watch will be able to take it for a test drive, so to speak, before deciding whether or not it's worth the investment.
The gadget rental start-up called Lumoid plans to rent Apple Watches as part of its wearable rental program for consumers, said, Aarthi Ramamurthy, the company's founder and CEO.
Lumoid will roll out a waiting list on its website later this week for consumers looking to get their hands on the device when it begins shipping in April.
While details about all the applications for the Apple Watch are still emerging, industry pros are certain of one thing: The smartwatch will cost what is for most people a small fortune.
It's expected to begin pricing at $350 for the Sport model and could potentially cost as much as $5,000 for the gold edition. The iPhone maker is even reportedly installing safes in its stores to secure the high-end wearables.
Before breaking the bank on the smartwatch, consumers should be able to try it out, Ramamurthy said.
Currently, Lumoid lets customers rent a set of five wearable devices to test for seven days. At the end of the week, if the customer decides not to make a purchase, they only pay $20. That fee, however, is waived if they decide to buy one of the brands they tested. Then Lumoid ships a new model of the chosen device to the customer.
The Apple Watch will be included in this program when it becomes available, Ramamurthy said. The price for renting a set of wearables that includes the Apple device, though, will likely be priced a little more than $20, she said.
The San Francisco-based start-up, which is partly backed by Y-Combinator, also plans soon to include other new smart watches, as well, including Motorola's Moto 360.
Lumoid, which launched in January 2014, originally only rented out photo and video gear, including professional cameras, GoPros and even drones. These devices can still be rented on the company's site for a daily fee that varies based on the device.
But the company expanded its business into the wearables market in mid-January because it saw an opportunity to sell more devices by helping consumers decide which device best suited their needs, Ramamurthy said.
"The wearable market is really expanding," she said. "In wearables, people want to track anything from heart rate to how fast they are walking to running all the way to their blood pressure. So we looked at the market and thought there could be a slightly different business model compared to the photo video stuff."
The company, which currently only does business in the U.S., has had a few hundred orders for wearables on its site. And while the program is still in its infancy, about 48 percent of customers are buying one of the devices they tested, Ramamurthy said.
Some other devices consumers can rent from Lumoid include Google Glass Explorer Edition for $18 per day, a DJI Phantom 2 drone with a GoPro for $45 per day and a Polaroid Cube camera for $4 per day.