My son, conspiring with my daughter, pre-ordered an Apple Watch for me on my birthday the night Apple first made them available.
I went for the 42mm Space Gray aluminum Apple Watch Sport with the Black Sport band. I'm not as young as I once was, nor is my eyesight as good, and I wanted the screen size I could more easily see and touch. When it came to additional bands, however, I was less certain about what I wanted. So I booked a try-on appointment at my local Apple Store. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I should have been — it was an amazing experience.
Right now, when my iPhone 5c is charging or is in my purse, I miss messages and calls, and I'm hoping the Apple Watch and its notifications solve that problem for me. If it works the way I hope, I may just upgrade to an iPhone 6 Plus — mainly because I think it will be better for iBooks, which I love to read, and working with the Watch will make that larger phone size much easier to deal with for everything else. At least, that's my hope. And the try-ons were my first step towards testing that theory.
The Apple Store was busy when I arrived, but not overly so. I was a little early, but the concierge greeted me immediately and led me over to the table where I could look at all the models while I waited.
They were stunningly beautiful, the watches. More so than I'd anticipated from seeing them on video and in photos. The materials of the cases, the textures of the bands — even under glass, they looked magnificent.
After a few moments, the young lady with whom I had my try-on appointment greeted me and introduced herself, then led me over to the next table. There, an Apple Watch sat beside a small screen where, as I poked at it with growing confidence, explanations appeared about what I was doing and what the results would be. I didn't spend too much time with it, and it didn't try to take it all in. I simply tried to become a little more comfortable with something that was, at least to me, very new.
When time came for my try-on, my specialist asked me questions about my tastes and style, as well as what was important to me and valuable. She wore gloves and had a special cloth to spruce up the watches, and that added to the feeling that these were very special artifacts.
She opened a drawer and took out the 42mm model with a Leather Loop band and slipped it onto my wrist.I loved it. The quality of the metal was even more impressive to touch than it was to look at. The bands, however, were the biggest surprise. The leather and metal bands were exquisite works of art. Not only did they feel great, the clasps were easy to close and open.
Seniors sometimes struggle with jewelry, especially if they have arthritis. What used to be easy to put on and take off over time becomes a challenge. Some of the Apple Watch bands were tricker than others, but several of them were easy — far easier than any of my traditional watch or bracelet buckles. The fasteners were all very clever.
I've read a lot about Apple and the emphasis and importance they place on software accessibility. I'm delighted they place just as much emphasis on the hardware as well. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but even if not, it shows that good design is functional not just for the few but for the many.
I tried on multiple watches — as many as my allotted time would allow. I liked many of them, but ultimately was happy with the one my children had pre-ordered for me. I did place an additional order, though, for the Black Leather Loop band. I think I'll be wearing that one a lot.
The try-ons were a great idea, and my Apple specialist was lovely. I'll be waiting many weeks for my Watch to arrive, but now I have a much better idea of what it will feel like both to wear it and to use it when it does.