In a sign that Apple Stores are starting to return to business as usual, coming out of the coronavirus pandemic, customers are once again able to try on AirPods before making a purchase at many outlets.
Bloomberg reports that Apple made the call to stop customers from trying on its popular AirPods earbuds early last year when COVID-19 began its rapid spread. It has now pulled back on these restrictions, meaning that both walk-in customers, and those who have made appointments, can try in-store AirPods to ensure they fit correctly before they decide whether or not to buy.
Relaxing the Rules
This comes several months after Apple relaxed this same policy for Apple Store customers in Asia. China, in particular, has been several months ahead of much of the rest of the world when it comes to Apple’s anti-coronavirus retail policies. Apple made the call to close retail stores in China before it did anywhere else, but then also opened the stores again prior to doing so elsewhere.
Apple shuttered its Apple Stores in the United States, and other non-China countries, in March last year. Some Apple Stores began reopening in May 2020. However, it was only in early March 2021 that all 270 retail stores were reopened in the United States at the same time.
Apple Stores still have various safety measures in place—including temperature checks, mask requirements, social distancing, lack of in-store classes, and more.
At a few select stores, there is no browsing of product allowed, and only Express pickup for online orders, as well as appointments for Genius Support. Regarding these particular Apple Stores, the Bloomberg report notes that:
“Those stores still aren’t letting shoppers try on AirPods. This is an important part of the in-person sales process because some consumers want to determine how well the earbuds fit or choose between the regular AirPods and AirPods Pro.”
New AirPods in the Works
Apple is currently rumored to be working on new regular AirPods. While some reports suggested that these would debut at Apple’s next special event, likely to be held in April, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi recently said that they will not debut until the second half of the year. The third-gen regular AirPods are expected to borrow the same design as the AirPods Pro, although may lack some of the high-end features.
Thanks to the newly reinstated try-before-you-buy policy, customers will thankfully be able to take them for a spin, when they do arrive, before handing over their hard-earned cash.
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