I live in Maine and the closest Apple Store (actually the only Apple Store) is two and a half hours away from me. Pre-orders for the Apple Watch started on Friday and the earliest opportunity for me to visit my Apple Store was today (Monday, April 13th.) I woke up early and opened the Apple Store website on my iPhone 6 Plus to schedule an appointment. Since Maine is a relatively unpopulated state as compared to others, like New York or Massachusetts, every appointment was available from open to close. My store is also smaller compared to other major city stores, so the Apple Watch Edition wasn’t an option to try on. I decided to go with the Apple Watch model I wanted: the 38mm Apple Watch Sport with a blue band.
I arrived at the Apple Store about an hour before my scheduled appointment. I walked into the mostly empty store to find several employees standing around talking or helping customers. When I walked in, I was greeted by an employee that was checking people in. I told him that I had an appointment in about an hour and that I planned to look around first. There were several Apple Watches on display with an iPad that walked you through how to use many of the apps. One of the tables had an inset covered in glass with every model of Apple Watch (including the Apple Watch Edition.)
After a few minutes of looking around, I checked in with the employee in the front of the store. I told him, again, that I had arrived early for my appointment and wanted to see if someone was available for me to test out the Apple Watch now. Luckily there was an employee available to assist me in trying on the Apple Watch. He asked me which one I was interested in: Apple Watch Sport 38mm with a blue sport band. Unfortunately, they didn’t have this model available for trying on in the M/L band size so he chose the black Apple Watch Sport with black sport band for me. He took his iPhone 5s with a special case on it, placed it against one of the drawers under the table and this allowed it open with a few Apple Watches in it.
The employee placed the Apple Watch on the leather mat and proceeded to wipe it down to make it shiny. He explained briefly about how the clasp works, compared it to the fitness watch (not an Apple Watch) that he was wearing and placed it around my wrist. The loose ends tucks between the watch band and your skin so it’s nearly impossible for the watch to fall off. He showed me how to turn on the demo, which went through a few settings and apps. I wasn’t really paying attention to it, but more to how lighter and smaller the watch was than what I expected it to be. I always mentally compared it to the first generation iPhone, but it seemed to be a little better than that. There is, however, lots of room for improvement by making the next generation model much thinner. The underside that connects to the charger and tracks your heart rate seemed to be thicker than it needed to be. This should be the area that Apple should focus on for the next-generation watch.
The try on session didn’t seem that personal due to the demo playing on the watch. It would have been nicer if I was able to sync the watch to my phone to actually test out the service (since there were still plenty of Apple employees not helping customers, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a problem for me to spend a few extra minutes with the watch) or actually use some of the apps instead of just viewing a demo.
Overall, the Apple Watch impressed me due to its lightness in weight and feel. The 38mm model appeared to be too small, even though that is the one I planned on pre-ordering so I’m glad that I was able to try on the larger model. The try on experience, however, wasn’t that impressive. I wished it was as personal as the Apple Watch is supposed to be. The model I wanted to try on wasn’t available so I had to go with a different color band, different size of the watch face and different color of the watch case. The demo seemed to be something that automatically played for everyone, which is not very personal.