I had an appointment today at my local Apple Store to try on the Apple Watch, and my intent was to address two questions. First, I wanted to get a sense for how the Space Gray Sport watch would look in an office environment, since I’m a lawyer. Second, I wanted to get a feel for how big the 42mm watch looked on my wrist, which isn’t too thick.
I was one of those geeks (or sheep, according to some Android users, I’m sure) who was up at 3 a.m. last Thursday night to order an Apple Watch. I ordered the 42mm Space Gray Aluminum Sport watch with the black Fluoroelastomer band, with the thought that this is a first generation product that is likely to improve in the next generation. If I like the watch, I’ll probably bump up a level when the second version is released (I’m hoping version 2 will be out next year, but that remains to be seen). If I don’t like it, I won’t be out as much money.
I arrived for my appointment about 5 minutes early, and an employee chatted with me for a few minutes as she waited for another employee to finish with another customer. This second employee then came over to assist me. I found him to be very knowledgeable and pleasant.
Many watches were on display, each mounted next to a larger instructional touch screen. These weren’t the “try on” watches, though. The try on watches were locked up tight in pull out drawers. The Apple Store employee was very meticulous about unlocking the drawer (using a device attached to his iPhone), removing a watch, and relocking the drawer. He then wiped down the screen of the watch before presenting it to me.
My appointment was allotted for 15 minutes, and I didn’t feel rushed at all. He allowed me to try on the Space Gray Sport model, as well as the Apple Watch (non-sport). I probably could have tried on more watches and bands, but I stuck with those two models, and a few bands.
A few observations about the watch itself, and the bands:
- The 42mm watch looks much bigger on my wrist in the above photo than it did in person. My immediate thought upon trying on the watch was that I had made the correct size choice. To give you an ideas as to the size of my wrist, I can get away with either of the two available FitBit band sizes. I can wear the large FitBit band on a medium to tighter setting, and the small band on the last (i.e., loosest) or second to last rung.
- Depending on how formal an office environment you work in, you might be able to get away with the Space Gray watch with the black Sport band for everyday use. I dress down on many days (khakis and button down shirt), and I wouldn’t feel out of place wearing the watch in such situations.
- I wouldn’t wear one of the other Sport bands at work, though. The bright colors wouldn’t go well in my work environment.
- The black leather loop goes well with the Space Gray Aluminum Sport Watch that I ordered. I’ll either order this band as my “office band,” or get by with the black Sport band while I evaluate third party bands.
- The classic buckle won’t work with the Sport watch, according to the Apple Store employee. I didn’t clarify whether he meant that it physically couldn’t connect, or just that the aluminum prongs (is that the right word?) would clash where they meet the darker colored aluminum of the watch. This isn’t a problem with the leather loop, which inserts flush into the watch.
- The leather loop is cleverly designed. I didn’t realize prior to my appointment that the strap length is magnetic. After you loop it through the clasp, you fold any extra length back on itself, and it magnetically clicks into place. (Or at least I’m assuming it was magnetism that did the trick).
- The leather loop doesn’t look too much like leather.
- The leather loop took a bit of practice to get on. I had trouble feeding the end of the strap on one length through the opening on the other length. I imagine that someone accustomed to wearing a watch wouldn’t have these difficulties, and I think it would become easier for me over time, just as I can now quickly fasten and unfasten my FitBit.
- Swapping bands seems pretty easy, although I hadn’t previously considered that it obviously takes a two step process to remove a band. The band has to be removed from each side of the watch. This is done by pressing a button on the underside of the watch, and then sliding the band out. The process is then repeated with the other half of the band. The Apple Store employee showed me how to do this a few times, and then let me do it myself.
- The digital crown scrolls very smoothly, and seems like a natural way to control the watch.
- You will probably have some mis-touches when you attempt to select an item on the watch screen. Objects on the screen are much smaller than objects on your phone.
The “try on” watches were in demo mode, with limited functionality, so once I had tried on a few bands, I played around with a watch on display. It didn’t take me long to get accustomed to at least the basic operation of the watch – swipe up for glances (weather, heart rate, step count, etc.), swipe down for notifications (email, messages, etc.), tap the button on the side for your favorite contacts, and tap the digital crown to go to the app screen. On most screens, you can use the digital crown to either scroll or zoom.
I walked away from the appointment eager to get my hands on my watch, but not doing backflips of excitement. We’ll see if that excitement builds over the coming weeks.