Normally, a new Apple product being made available draws long lines, but with the launch of the Apple Watch, that is one thing you won’t need to do.
No, instead of lining up around the block and causing a bit of traffic havoc, you’ll be instead asked to book an appointment for the watch, where you can try on each of the sizes — 38mm and 42mm — and then the various bands on offer.
Unlike the simple choice of “which colour do I get” when it comes to an iPhone or MacBook, or “do I want the big one or the not-so-big one”, the Apple Watch is more about personal preference.
Do you like aluminium, stainless steel, or something a little more luxury? What looks best on your wrist: 38mm or 42mm? Which suits you more: silicone, leather, or metal?
Picking an Apple Watch isn’t quite the same as picking up a phone or tablet, and everyone will be different. In fact, if you have a smallish watch now, you’ll find yourself preferring the 38mm, while the larger watch-wearers will probably like the 42mm more.
Even after you pick what you want to wear, you may not find you’re wearing one until June, as we suspect the demand for this is so strong, the Apple Store is apparently not expecting to ship these until the sixth month of the year.
That makes the line outside the shop totally irrelevant, since you can’t really walk in and buy one, you’’ want an appointment, and even buying online without that appointment isn’t likely to yield a watch you can get today.
So don’t line up for the Apple Watch. It’s not worth it, and we suspect Apple would prefer you not to.
When you do eventually get to put your hands on one, it’ll arrive in a nice white box, with a plastic box inside, a charger, a very lightweight manual, and a USB wall wort.
Inside the white box is the watch, and while our review isn’t likely to turn up until next week, what you need to know about the Apple Watch is that it is pure Apple.
The model we’re checking out is the “Watch” which is stainless steel, with a sapphire crystal display, a ceramic back, and for our review model, the milanese loop metal band with a magnetic enclosure.
Silver across the board is pretty pleasing on the eye, but Apple’s Watch leaves you with a good taste in your mouth — and on your wrist — because it feels like every elements is considered, and while the Google Android Wear watches offer up good hardware and software, the bands aren’t always cut from the same design, often lacking in comparison to the rest of the package.
Not so with the Apple Watch which feels united in comparison, with a design that appears to work on the whole, not on a part-by-part basis.
Comparing it to the regular Skagen not-so-smartwatch this reviewer regularly uses — when he’s not wearing the LG G Watch R or reviewing another smartwatch — it’s clear that Apple isn’t just going for “another smartwatch” with the Watch, but rather something a little more premium, but there’s clearly more to this watch.
We haven’t even gotten stuck into half the things it does, but one of our favourites already is Apple’s vibrating “Taptic” engine, which borrows similar technology to the Force Trackpad used in the MacBook, and is strong when it nudges your wrist but can be controlled so it’s less of a nudge and more of a tap.
The Apple Watch App Store already has a fair few apps available, too, so it’s clear this is Apple’s next big growth area, and the play for the exercise market could well make rivals Fitbit and Jawbone a little scared, though we’ll have to see how they play out against each other.
Ultimately, though, we’re impressed, and it’s hard not to be; this isn’t just a taste of what’s in Apple’s future, this is a declaration that the smartwatch war is on.
Look for a full review next week.