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Curious about the Apple Watch, but not sure about buying one? There's a way to test drive before you shell out the money.
Lumoid is a San Francisco-based start-up that is offering consumers the chance to rent the newest Apple product. Specifically, the Sport edition will cost you $45 to rent for one week. If you decide to buy the Watch then $25 of that will be applied to the final purchase price. As for the stainless steel version? That model will cost you $55 to rent, and $30 of that would go toward the purchase.
Lumoid's CEO Aarthi Ramamurthy says that there are already more than 3,000 people on Lumoid's waiting list. "Thousands of people have been adding themselves," she told CNBC. "It's been a little shocking for us, but in a good way. We are hoping that we can fulfill this demand, and then convert them to purchases."
Can you rent the 18-karat gold Watch, which starts at $10,000? Well, no. That won't be available to rent. (Tweet This)
The watch is Apple's first new product category in five years. Analysts believe the financial impact of the device will be modest, at least initially. RBC's Amit Daryanani estimates that Apple will ship 15 million watches this year, generating some $8 billion in revenue, or 4 percent of total sales. However, financial analysts are also quick to note that sales could surge as developers create killer apps for the wearable. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster thinks Apple could ship as many as 50 million units in 2017, which would be about 10 percent of total revenue.
Apple will allow consumers to return its watch for a full refund within 14 days of purchase. However, Ramamurthy says that many consumers benefit from Lumoid's service, which allows them to compare and contrast various smartwatches at a relatively low price. More broadly, she believes her start-up represents the future of shopping, since consumers want to try out gadgets before committing to a purchase.
"This is a more effective form of retail," she says. "You can come in, test drive a bunch of devices for a full week, and just pay the retail price."
Lumoid, founded in January 2014, is a Y Combinator-backed start-up that has raised $2 million from investors. The company rents other gadgets as well, including wearables such as Fitbit and Jawbone and as drones. Only time will tell if the Apple Watch will be a hit or miss for the start-up.