Well, everyone else is doing one of these, so why not. I went to my local Apple Store this morning with my fiancee, and we got to try on Apple Watches to see if we really wanted them after all.
I’m really glad I didn’t scrape together the money and preorder Friday morning, because I would have gotten the wrong one. I thought I was going to prefer the Space Gray Sport model with the black
flour rubber band. But after trying it on along with others, I changed my mind. Not the sport band isn’t lovely. It manages to feel silky and luxurious as soon as you put it on. It’s also a lot easier to put on than it seems. The secret is to stick the pin through the hole in the band, and then tuck the remaining band through the slot. It’s flexible enough to do this and this method removes the need for a third hand. The space gray color is also significantly darker than space gray on the iPhone, iPad or new Macbook, more like the slate color on the iPhone 5. I expect the aluminum will be just as subject to nicks and scratches as that was, and the space gray watch will age quickly.
What really sold me was the Milanese loop. I expected this to be much stiffer than it is. A lot of people have commented on how it doesn’t tug on arm hairs and feels more like fabric than chain, but I was also impressed at how supple it was. I thought it would have a minimum arc, but it folds right back over itself and lies completely flat. It’s also longer than I expected. I have big, beefy wrists, around 190-200mm. I expected the Milanese loop to just barely have enough slack to wrap over the bar and fasten, but the end with the magnet extended all the back to the center of my wrist, directly opposite the watch itself. It was thin and light enough to not interfere with typing, and because it’s an analogue fit, unlike pretty much all the other bands, including the leather loop, it slips just enough when I pull my hand back so that it isn’t too tight, but holds tightly enough to keep the sensors on the back of the watch in contact with my skin.
The leather loop was also nice, and is my fiancee’s preferred band, but because of the discrete way the magnets line up, it, like the sport and classic buckle bands, was either a little too tight or a little too loose.
So originally, I was planning on getting the 42mm Space Gray Sport for $400, plus a black or brown leather band for $150, and AppleCare+ for $50 because I’m a klutz. $600 total.
Instead, I’m (probably) going to order the 42mm Steel Apple Watch for $700, a black sports band for $50 and I might hold off on AppleCare+ because of how much tougher the sapphire screen and stainless steel body are. $750 total. Not that much more expensive and a much nicer, more durable product.
The reason for the parenthetical “probably” is that I don’t know if I’m going to order this generation of Apple Watch at all. The demo models seemed snappy enough, but they were also very limited and didn’t have any third party apps installed. Right now, ordering the watch of my choice wouldn’t get it shipped until June. And at the beginning of June, we expect Apple to unveil the real WatchKit SDK for developers to write native apps rather than just extensions that run from the phone. I think it’s possible, if not necessarily likely, that these native apps will run about as well as App Store apps ran on the original iPhone, which is not that well. So if I’m waiting until then anyway, I may as well see if I’d be better off waiting for the next generation watch to run the next generation apps.
Still, I’m glad I went today. I learned a lot more about the watch by seeing one in person, and the 42mm version is a lot smaller on my wrist than I thought it would be. If I get one I know which one I want now, and I’m comfortable waiting until Apple gets their act together and I can walk out of the store with one. But I’m also seriously considering getting a $100 Pebble and waiting out this round. Time will tell.