Yesterday evening, Steffanie and I realized that CocoaConf DC was happening this weekend and therefore our friend Casey Liss would be in town. Knowing he would be tied up all day at the conference, I DMed him to see if he could slip away for a bit in order to come with us to try on the Apple Watch at the Apple Store nearby to the conference.
Frist of all, we arrived at 12:45 pm for our 1:15 pm try-on appointments and waited all of 5 minutes before we were shown to the try-on table. It seems, at least for this particular Apple Store, they had more space than there were appointments slots backed up and they must have been proceeding more quickly than anticipated. We spent almost 20-25 minutes looking at the two models we tried on, but our assigned Apple Store employee wasn't rushing us at all.
I tried on the Stainless Steel Apple Watch with the Milanese Loop band, as well as the Space Gray Aluminum Apple Watch Sport with the Black Sport band. I chose both the sport and the steel models because I wanted to compare the weight difference, and I wanted to see them side by side in person. As for the bands, if I could have done so I would have tried the Milanese Loop, Link Bracelet, Classic Leather Buckle, and the Leather Loop. Unfortunately I could only try one band with the Steel watch so I chose the one I was most interested in.
I came into the store wanting the steel watch but being cautious enough to want to try the sport model for many reasons including price, cautiousness about it being a 1st generation product, and my wanting to probably replace it as soon as next year's model comes out.
I left the store being one hundred percent certain I wanted the sport instead of the steel model. My main reasons were:
- The weight difference instantly made an impression with me. I'm a long time watch wearer up until around 3 years ago. Since I've been using various sport bands such as the FitBit and I've gotten used to how light they are. When I used to wear big, heavy mens stainless steel watches, I always felt the need to take them off when sitting at my desk typing. With the FitBit, I don't feel the need to do this. The Apple Watch Sport felt light and comfortable. While the Steel looks great, the weight difference really did it for me.
- I was knocked out by the quality and comfort of the sport band. Wow - you HAVE to try it on. Do not be turned off by the fact that its a "rubber band" or as Apple describes it, "Fluoroelastomer". Whatever it is made from - it feels super soft, comfortable, and doesn't feel like the cheap plasticky band my FitBit has.
- The Milanese Loop is very nice, and looks great. I'll probably be buying one to be able to switch my bands out depending on the situation.
After we finished trying them on, we were given the opportunity to play with the watch itself in a mounted unit stand where we could freely interact with the operating system instead of the try-on units that were just running the Apple Watch operating system in a continuous demo loop
My first take-away after having played with the demo was that the software seems very 1.0. At various times the software couldn't keep up with how fast we were trying to interact with it. It felt almost like a two year old iPhone running the newest version of iOS that was just released on the new iPhone. Okay - maybe not quite that bad, but it was apparent there is some jankyness is places when it comes to tapping buttons or animating objects. I'm not sure if this is hardware limitations or the need for Apple to squash some bugs with a point release or two. Either way this reinforced the idea to me that I should be smart and get the Apple Watch Sport so that I don't feel bad or guilty next year when I want to buy the next model.
After playing with this demo unit for 10-15 minutes, we graduated to the display table where we could see all the models, including the Apple Watch Editions (which weren't available to try-on in this particular store, but were still on display).
Over all I like the look and feel of this device a lot. The hardware design is very nice. All of the models and bands look fantastic in person. The Sport models do not feel cheap or of lesser quality...they're just different.
The software design seems great, although I'm sure it will take a few weeks for me to get used to the user interface. The software was a bit laggy in places which could be from the limitations of the internal hardware or bugginess - I'm just not sure. Lets see how fast Apple is able to release 1.01/1.1 etc for the Apple Watch OS. I have no more doubts as to which I should get (steel or sport) - its definitely Apple Watch Sport. Now I'm still a bit torn about the bands, but I'll just make more try on appointments between now and when I plan to order my watch until I'm certain about my band choices. I'm not planning on ordering mine yet anyway, especially now since they've sold out and wont be shipping until May/June/July. When Apple production catches up to demand and I've had some more time to think about my choices, I'll order mine in good time.