As Apple prepares to start watch sales on April 24 in nine countries, it has started offering appointments at its retail stores to try on the various sizes and colors it will offer at launch. We attended one of these fittings this past weekend in New York.
Here’s how it works: After checking in, you’re led to a spot at one of the Apple Store’s iconic wooden tables, where a store employee has a drawer full of watches. You can try on as many as you’d like, but the watches aren’t live—they’re running canned demo loops.
The watch is comfortable enough. As many of the initial reviews have noted, it’s thick and bulbous. But both face sizes—38mm and 42mm—are surprisingly small. You won’t look or feel like you’re wearing a giant computer on your wrist.
Despite all the different options, we were most pleased with our pre-order selections: For me, the simple Sport model with a bright blue band, in 42mm. My wife, a fashion writer, chose the Sport with a pink band, in 38mm. (She was also curious about peeking at the rose gold models, but those are only available for fitting at specific Apple Stores—not the one we visited.) We both found most of the leather choices dull. But the leather loop band, held secure with magnets, was at least comfortable—the metal link bracelet felt like overkill. If anything, we’d both like to see some more sport band colors.
Here’s where it starts to get interesting: Elsewhere in the store, Apple has stationary displays—clever, custom-built iPad cases—with running watches to try out.
The Apple Watch is complex enough—side button, digital crown, touchscreen, “taptic” feedback, and a new “force touch” gesture—that there’s no way to master everything in the short amount of time before someone else wants to try their turn. This actually left us with a stronger feeling of curiosity than frustration.
Most early attention to the Apple Watch has focused on its appearance and price. But after a quick spin, it’s even clearer that its future success or failure will be decided by its software more than its fashion.
How much will this little thing be able to do for us? While early Apple Watch apps are limited in their capabilities, and are reportedly slow to use, this brief experience was stimulating to the imagination.