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Hands on: Why trying an Apple Watch made me want to buy one

Susie Ochs | March 11, 2015
I had a $17,000 Apple Watch Edition strapped to my wrist today. Rose gold. 38mm. Rose gray strap that felt like butter, with a modern buckle also in solid 18-carat gold. It was beautiful. But as luxe as the materials are, my hands-on demo time with the Apple Watch made me confident that I can go with the entry-level Apple Watch Sport and be just as happy.

I had a $17,000 Apple Watch Edition strapped to my wrist today. Rose gold. 38mm. Rose gray strap that felt like butter, with a modern buckle also in solid 18-carat gold. It was beautiful. But as luxe as the materials are, my hands-on demo time with the Apple Watch made me confident that I can go with the entry-level Apple Watch Sport and be just as happy.

Why? It's the software, silly! The Apple Watch's apps, glances, and notifications are so easy to use and well-thought-out that once I started tapping, pressing, and scrolling around the tiny display, I quickly forgot what materials were in the case and strap. Here's what I found so compelling in my brief demo time, and why I'm looking forward to strapping an Apple Watch (Sport, natch) onto my wrist come April 24.

Attention to detail

The Apple Watch has so many delightful little details, and I'm not even talking about how the clasps on the gold Apple Watch Editon's bands are also made of gold. Again, it's the software. Scrolling around the tiny screen is smooth, and even though the home screen's tiny app bubbles look like you'd need to tap them with fingers the size of Q-Tips, I found them easy to hit.

If you nudge an app's icon toward the center, it bulges a little bigger, and you can tap it with more ease, or twist the digital crown to open it. The animation from home screen to app even varies in speed based on how quickly or slowly you twist the digital crown. I immediately faded an app in and out with glee, over and over, like a kid in the back seat of a car who just found out about power windows.

Using the Digital Touch feature was a wow moment too. Press the button below the watch's digital crown to bring up your favorite contacts — from this screen you can call them, send a message, or enter Digital Touch if they also have an Apple Watch. Then you can draw an image with your finger, tap out a pattern that will be tapped on their wrist, or even send your heartbeat.

We knew that all already, sure. But seeing — and feeling — it on my wrist was next-level cool. The image I drew of a pink heart faded out only to flicker back to life on the other Apple Watch, in the same way I drew it. I received a subtle wrist-tap from a very nice Apple employee I'd just met, and got as excited as if it had been from my best friend. And holding two fingers over the watch's face prompts Digital Touch to tap out your heartbeat on the other person's wrist — less invasive than a phone call, but just as intimate (and infinitely less risky than racy photographs). I predict this will be the biggest mover of his-and-hers Apple products since FaceTime.

 

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