Saturday, May 02

Watch Out for the Unexpected

Despite protests from my closest friends, family, and advisors I joined the herd of Apple sheep who have been obsessing over the Apple Watch the last few weeks. While I didn’t go so far as to pre-order or purchase one I did schedule a try-on appointment at a local Apple Store just to get a feel for what this thing is like to behold, or more accurately, to be beholden by it.

Apple Watch with Milanese loop bracelet (2015)
Apple Watch with Milanese loop bracelet (2015)

A few people have chimed in this week about how difficult it is to truly get a sense of the ramifications of a product like this in one, two, three days or even two weeks. Multiply that difficulty by a million for my brief ten minutes with a demo loop-only try-on model. But, I did leave with some impressions so here are a few quick hitters:

It’s not as big as the pictures make it seem and it’s not as heavy as you’d expect. I’ve read this many times in other people’s first impressions, but I never fully trusted them. I don’t expect you to trust me either.

The digital crown is way cool. I’m still trying to decide if I’d prefer for it to have really subtle clicks (more like bumps) or if I prefer the silky smoothness of it as it exists today. It’s hard to choose between what exists and what doesn’t, but the execution of what Apple chose is superb.

Stainless steel looks awesome, Space Gray aluminum looks less like a downgrade than I expected. Still looks like a downgrade, but the degree is lower.

It’s dumb, impractical, and almost 100% novelty for me. I could really become accustomed to having one.

I left with this basic sentiment: the try-on experience was great from a service perspective (quick but relaxed, no real pressure, just gentle questions). In terms of the impact on my decision it mostly just confirmed everything I was already thinking after months of following the commentary and two weeks worth of reviews. Trying on the demo unit neither heightened or lowered my desire to get one. I still want one, almost purely for the sake of having one. Only time will tell if reason triumphs over wistful abandonment.

One consequence of the try-on experience did catch me by surprise though. On the way out of the store I spent a little time with the new MacBook and that experience made the choice for next computer purchase a little less obvious than I expected. I was wowed by the new design and features of the new MacBook, but the price and power combo scared me a bit because I expected my next computer to be a desktop-level workhorse1. The shine of the new MacBook introduced some doubt – maybe I don’t really need computing power as much as I need a combination of non-battery hindered storage hub (lower-spec, cheap new or used Mac mini) plus cutting edge ultraportable.

  1. I define desktop-level as iMac 27“, top spec Mac mini or close to it, or high-spec 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display.  ↩