Apple watch try-ons: Delight and accessibility

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.

  • What a lovely little piece. And from a different perspective than most tech blogs provide. Thanks for sharing your experience!
  • Thanks Mrs. Ritchie for the first hand experience. Rene has shared this story but it comes better from you. Next year I might get one for my mom if I can convince my dad to stop getting her android phones.
  • Hand-me-downs to relatives is actually my rational for justifying upgrading iPhones every two years...
  • Agree. My mom has my original iPad and my dad has one of my older ones as well.
  • Oh, this is the best Apple Watch article so far. So good to hear from a different perspective.
  • Cool! Hope you enjoy your watch...looking forward to the 24th!! ~fingers crossed~
  • Yes, thank you so much for your perspective, Mrs. Ritchie. And maybe we can get an update from you--once you've had the watch for a bit. Congratulations on your Apple Watch.
  • I love this! I can't think of much more to say than that, but bravo all the same.
  • A question about the bands with magnets. How strong is the hold? I am worried about knocking it loose when reaching into my pants pocket and catching the band. I had a Moto360 with metal band and somehow I kept hitting the release button and the opening the band.
  • I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the strength of the magnetic bands. The Milanese is very firm, it feels like you could support the whole thing on a fridge if you wanted to. I'm confident it won't come off in daily use, unless you're doing jiu jitsu and someone is literally grasping at your arms. The leather loop is also quite strong. It almost acts as a snap band, where you toss it in the right direction and it grips into place automatically.
  • Thank you iMore and Mrs. Ritchie! I'd love to see more articles like this. I volunteer at a retirement community helping seniors with their tech. It's completely changed my idea about what most older people want. They want what younger people do, but with fewer buttons, fewer updates, and text that's easier to read. This population is growing, and quickly. Maybe a blog directed at them? Hint, hint?
  • Totally agree. I also help seniors with their iPads &iPhones. With proper and patient guidance they can become proficient users and advocates of new technologies.
  • I think where I will find the watch useful to start from is: I work in a manufacturing setting and I lay my phone upon my desk or keep it in my pocket and i venture to the office and shop area often as an IT Manager. Sometimes I am such a hurry to run out of my office i leave my watch and next thing i know the support needed takes much longer then expected and I am unable to monitor my emails or calls as I get enough of them. If I have it in my pocket then great its with me but then i have to dig it out of my pocket while my hands are covered in sh.. from the shop area, so i am hoping the watch will help me in that aspect. Just saying thats a start
  • Bravo Mrs Ritchie! I have three words for you...More More More. Would love to read more on your thoughts and experiences with the Apple Watch and other current technologies that mature users could benefit from. Thank you very much.
  • That was a really fun and refreshing perspective. I can only imagine my mom with an Apple watch, though. She's not nearly as tech-savvy as you!
  • Seriously? The try on was a joke. Yes, seeing the watch in person was great. But the watch didn't even work. You couldn't interact with it. All it did was a preset mini-demo that you had absolutely no control over. What's the point of trying it on if you can't actually use it? That's like going to an auto dealership and they let you sit in a car but not test drive it. Trust us, you'll love the car AFTER you buy it and we actually deliver a working model. Wink, wink.
  • Did you try the 90% functional display units tethered to the iPad? It's better than nothing. Sent from the iMore App
  • Also, I went to play with "smart wearbles" at best buy and half of them didn't even turn on. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks for your 2 cents Mrs. Ritchie! Your perspective was very sweet & helpful!!! Kudos to the Mother & Son team: The Ritchies Sent from the iMore App
  • I really don't understand all those people who claim that missing phone calls and messages has been a big problem for them, and hail the Apple Watch as their savior. The Pebble has been around for over two years, the more stylish Pebble Steel for more than one. While you might argue that the Apple Watch is nicer, why not using the imperfect solution while waiting for the more perfect one to become available?
    Also, while on the subject of using the best tools available: if your mom is reading books on an iPhone 5c, she's damaging her eyesight. Please, get her a Kindle. Or, since I get the feeling that in the Ritchie household using anything non-Apple is verboten, at least an iPad mini.
  • Pebble Steel (former) user here. When the February announcement added meat to the bones of the September announcement, I sent the steel to eBay heaven before its value dropped any further. No doubt Pebble has it beat on battery life and always on watch face (and the 64-color Time Steel is very intriguing), the Pebble is just a tease of what the Apple Watch will be. All notifications will work on the AW, and you will be able to reply to texts and answer calls. Granted, this is not Pebble's fault, because their Android integration is much better than iOS, thanks to Apple's (20ft) walled garden. AW has Pebble beat six ways to Sunday on health and fitness issues, and the app universe looks almost unlimited. Lastly, unless all of the photos and videos "lie" the quality of the AW screen is just beyond compare to the current Steel or Time series - hands down! I want all of those advantages. As for the "senior reading issue" (since I qualify in that regard), with the exception of outdoor viewing, I much prefer my iPhone 6 Plus to any reader, Kindle, Android, or iPad Mini.
  • Thank you so much, Mrs Ritchie. Your review is so different, refreshing and simple. Any person can connect with it. Waiting for  watch yo get released in India! Sent from the iMore App
  • This was a great read from a "non-techie" perspective. It was also interesting to find another user who is go 42mm based on visibility as much as style. I too have been thinking about that leather loop band - I think it will look great with the Sport Space Gray. My problem is being 300 miles from the nearest Apple Store. Speaking of which, could anyone at iMore speak to the true "color" of the Space Gray? In all of the pictures I have seen it looks considerably darker than my space gray iPhone 6 Plus, which I personally hope it is, because THE BEST looking Apple Watch is the black stainless steel (sorry rose gold lovers). I would have gone that direction but for the fact I know I will upgrade to the first iteration that is thinner with better battery life, and hate spending much money on any V1 device.
  • The space gray Watch is definitely darker than the space gray iPhone. I'd say the shade is between the current gen space gray iPhone, and the black iPhone 5 (but closer, in shade, to the iPhone 5). If I could embed the picture I took while I had my try-on appointment, I would.
  • Nice article, nice to get the family involvement. I may just have to get one each for my wife and her mom. Then *MAYBE* my wife will answer her phone and get my texts when she is at the store! :>