Yesterday was a pretty exciting day.
Starting at around 3 in the morning, I and many other excited people woke up (or in my case, stayed up) and got ready to preorder the Apple Watch. I'd never preordered an Apple product before, but I had heard about how the store can slow to a crawl so I had gotten myself ready. I had my iPad and iPhone both open to the Store.app and was flipping back and forth between that and Tweetbot on my iPad in the minutes leading up to 3:01. Apparently the web-based store took about 5-10 minutes longer to come up than using the native apps on iOS, but for me the process pretty much went off without a hitch. The store loaded back up on my phone at 3:01, and I got through the order process and got my email confirmation by 3:02. It was a lot easier than I would've thought, and I was happy to see that I got in the launch-day range for delivery (April 24th- May 5th) when people who ordered even 10 or 15 minutes later got stuck waiting another 3 to 4 weeks. I purchased the 42mm silver sport with a white sport band, and so I'll have that showing up hopefully on the 24th.
Around 7 hours later I was up again bright and early, and after a quick FitStar workout and a shower my father and I were off to the Apple Store for a try-on appointment. When I arrived the store wasn't all that crowded, and so as soon as I got there I was guided over to an open try-on station with a pleasant genius named "E." They had little trays filled with various Apple Watch models nestled into charging stations, and he brought out two models at a time for me to try on.
The first thing I tried was the 42mm black sport model with a black sport band, and I was surprised initially by how small it really was and how small all it's features and design details were. When you see the device blown up huge on marketing websites for months and then finally get to see it in person, it's striking just how small but also how precise it all is. That and the digital crown is smooth in a really intentional and weighted way. It's not difficult to turn, and there's no real resistance, but it feels like there's just enough tactility there to make it both a pleasure to turn, and a very intentional act. I'd be surprised if it got turned or bumped by accident.
Another pleasant surprise was how nice the sport band was. The best way I can describe it is that it's got all the qualities you'd usually expect from a rubber watch band - it's bendable, it's water-resistant, etc - but instead of having the normal, friction-y feeling that goes along with a rubber strap, it's soft and smooth in a way that I can really only describe as supple. It's a little difficult to put on, as you have to hold both ends of the band and guide the metal pin into a hole on the opposite piece before you can pull it through and finish putting it on, but I think that will get better with practice, and so I'm not too concerned about it.
Aside from the Sport, I also got to try on the 42mm stainless steel Apple Watch with a leather loop bracelet on it, and I think this was my favorite band that I tried on. It's texture does feel like it's made from leather, but it's stiff around the magnets inside in a way that doesn't really evoke a traditional leather band. That being said, it was very easy to put on and was quite comfortable once attached, and I think it looked very nice with the stainless steel watch. I'll probably order one in the stone colorway down the line to use with my sport, and I think that will be a fetching combination. I also got to try on the Milanese loop - which I thought looked a little too feminine on my wrist - and the stainless steel link bracelet - which while having a cool clasp mechanism, was just too showy for my tastes.
Overall impressions on the watch are that it's made very well, and that I think it'll make me happy to wear it on a daily basis in addition to being useful, which is a lot of the reason we're buying these things in the first place, isn't it?
The new MacBook was also on display in the store, and so my dad and I took the chance to sit down (literally, we stole stools from another part of the store and brought them over) and really try it out. I wasn't overly impressed with the thin-ness and weight of it that much, but I think that could be in part due to the fact that I use an iPad Air 2 every day for all my computing tasks, and so the MacBook isn't that huge of a difference in comparison. I was impressed with the screen and the trackpad however, and I think both are really great additions to the machine, probably enough to make it worth a purchase for a prospective Mac owner.
The part of the MacBook I spent the most time trying out though, was definitely the keyboard. There's really no way to convey through words over the internet how little key travel there is with this machine, but when people have said that it's one step up from typing on an iPad's screen, they mean it. I think that most people could (and will) get used to such a keyboard, but for some others it just might not cut it. I think the machine is still a positive buy even with it's shortcomings and tradeoffs, and I think there will be a large number of people who enjoy it all the same.
That was about all of my experience yesterday at the Apple Store. After that I went home and painted my room for several hours, but I can tell you that ever since going and trying it on, the Apple Watch has been on my mind a lot. I'm really looking forward to that April 24th launch date, and I'm even more excited for the days and weeks that come after when I get to acclimate to living with the device.
Count me as officially hyped.