My Apple Watch Try-On Session, and That Keyboard

By now, on Friday night of the ‘embargo week,’ you have no doubt read and watched plenty in regards to Apple Watch and the new MacBook. I was one of the silly folk who stayed up last night this morning to preorder both. I was also one of the souls who scheduled a try-on appointment this evening.

Ordering The Things

The Watch

I decided on the stainless black Apple Watch in 42 mm. That was my first pick. Unfortunately, supplies were apparently extremely constrained, because my estimated ship date—as of 12:01 this morning—was already 4-6 weeks initially. Wow. I tried for about two minutes to see if I could maybe get another model more quickly, but in those few precious minutes full of second thoughts and looking around, the ship time for the stainless black slipped to June. June. Double wow. So I put in my order and that was that.

The MacBook

Since this was going to be my primary computer, I opted for the 1.3 GHz BTO option. That pushed my ship date back to May 6. My friend ordered the base model, and he should have it by the end of this month. I assumed the MacBook would have been in great supply, so much so that I was banking on going to the Apple Store tonight to pick it up! Sadly, that wasn’t the case. I spoke with the try-on lady and she said they didn’t get any MacBook stock for launch day. Oh Angela Ahrendts.


It seems like supply was severely constrained for both items. Was it orchestrated to be thus? Hard to say. Part of me thinks yes. What better way to keep the Apple Bears at bay than have a smashing weekend where people couldn’t get enough? Tis better to ‘sell out’ than to not sell enough, yes? Or, maybe they just couldn’t make enough. Who knows.

Visiting the Store

Around 12:40 last night, I made my try-on appointment for the Apple Watch.

And it only took me three tries!
And it only took me three tries!

Why did I do this? Especially after having already pre-ordered the Watch? I wanted to be sure I made the right choice. I’ll echo what Tapbots developer Paul Haddad said earlier today: June is a long way away, plenty of time for me to change my mind about a few things.

Another thing is that this was probably going to be the only opportunity I would have to play with the Watch and the new MacBook until they get to me weeks from now.

Trying on the Watch(es)

They somehow lost my reservation, but the ‘front of the store’ minion got me setup as a walk-in. “Will that delay my try-on a lot? Are there tons of people wanting to have try-ons?” I asked. The dude said no. When I asked whether their experience today was like the typical iPhone launch day, he said it was far from it.


This used to be the area of the store where the forgotten things went: Mac mini, Thunderbolt Display, MacBook Pro (non-Retina), etc.
This used to be the area of the store where the forgotten things went: Mac mini, Thunderbolt Display, MacBook Pro (non-Retina), etc.

Luckily for me, I got to try on the Apple Watch specimens that I was most interested in (more or less).

Apple Watch Sport (Space Gray, Black Fluoroelastomer Band)

The Apple Watch Sport is just as awesome and wonderful as it appears to be in Apple’s product imagery. It is the perfect gadget watch, and I have no doubt a lot of my friends will have this model because of its easy livability and it’s dashing good looks.

Hello, I must be going.
Hello, I must be going.

The “rubber” band is far from just rubber—it is easily the biggest surprise out of all the models I got to touch. Gruber agrees with me. Leave it to Apple to make a rubber watch band feel so much more exclusive than, well, regular rubber watch bands from other companies.

Oh, another thing about the fluoroelastomer band: it is a real pain to get on and off. The lady spent the most time with that watch taking it on/off.

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Steps 1, 2, and 3 for getting the Sport band on

This was the model I was most interested in trying on, once I found out that the stainless black was not available (there was a model on display in the center aisle display case, but that’s it). I was worried it might seem grandpa-ish, based on what Marco had to say about it. He couldn’t have been more wrong. The satin-y finish of the bracelet nicely complements the polished appearance of the Watch case. And really, the stainless black color scheme evokes a rather modern vibe by default.

Ahhh yeah.
Ahhh yeah.
Apple Watch (Stainless Steel, Milanese Loop)

This band was by far the biggest disappointment. The mesh is very, very small—much smaller than the promotional materials suggest. Because of that, it’s really a lot less ‘flowy’ than I thought it would be. And, for better or for worse, the perceived shrinking of the loops really made this feel cheap to me.

Marco Arment had this to say about it:

The Milanese Loop, my preorder, is decent, but not quite what I expected. The mesh is much smaller in real life than it looks in the photos, so it ends up looking and feeling more like silver fabric than woven metal. It’s easier to attach and adjust than the Leather Loop because it doesn’t have discrete segments, but it still took me a few adjustments each time to get the right fit.


I made the right choice. It is totally worth waiting until June for the stainless black model. A close second would have to be the Watch with the black band. Yes, that’s right, I would still chose another Watch over that Space Gray Watch Sport. I just can’t help but imagine being somewhere, amongst nerdfolk like myself, all of us having the same exact model on our wrist. I guess that’s not the end of the world. How many guys like have the Space Gray iPhone 6? It’s hard to be different these days, but if there were ever a chance to do that, it is Apple Watch. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

Testing Out the New MacBook

The case is really, really, light. It is also quite small—the form factor is very reminiscent of the 11" MacBook Air.

The display is absolutely gorgeous. I had no reason to doubt the reports saying as much.

I’ve played with the trackpad on the 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display, and this felt the same.

What I was most looking forward to was typing on this thing. Jason Snell has bemoaned it endlessly in his reviews for Macworld, Six Colors, and his podcast Upgrade. I assume keyboard purists like him weren’t really the target market, since, for them, clicky keyboards will always the best. I assumed that it would feel just the same as typing on my MacBook Pros and Air’s of the past.

Boy was I wrong. It really, truly does feel just slightly more feedback-y than typing on an iPad screen. The latter is certainly the worst typing experience of all, but the former isn’t that far ahead. Yes, the keys feel very sturdy. Typing on the keyboard evokes all those things I remember Jony Ive talking about in the promotional videos. Don’t get me wrong: this keyboard is an excellent hardware milestone. I just think it will take some getting used to. If you preordered one, be ready. It’s not going to feel like typing on anything you’ve typed on before.

I'll leave you with this: the display case for try-on's. So clean.
I’ll leave you with this: the display case for try-on’s. So clean.