What we learned at the Apple Watch in-store preview

If you wanted to actually hold the Apple Watch in your own two hands before dropping some serious cash on it, you were required to book an appointment at your local Apple outpost for an in-store try on. Chances are, like us, you got up at 2am when the pre-order window opened. And you might have discovered, also like us, that you couldn’t place an order during that appointment time. Rather, you must reroute yourself back to the website for that. And at this point, many models have back ordered until June.

Apple Watch in-store try on tray

Apple Watches are delivered in a covered tray lined with velvet.


For this landmark event and its first foray into wearables, Apple has transformed its stores into luxury operations and it has molded its staff into salespeople adept at hands-on customer service. And we do mean hands-on quite literally. Your Apple Store Specialist will first unveil a velvet tray brought from the rear of the store, which holds all Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch models in it (Apple Watch Edition models are encased in glass). Next, they will polish each watch select to try on your wrist, before and after. And finally, they will gingerly help your hand in and out of the device.

Apple Store Specialists take Apple Watch on and off.

Apple Store Specialists take Apple Watch on and off.


Our Specialist, Vanessa, confirmed that the staff had spent months training for this moment, and that they hadn’t themselves gotten to play with the watches until the public did this morning. When asked about the 50 percent employee discount she demurred, but she did add that she’d be purchasing the Sport version since it better suits her active lifestyle. (Points on holding onto the lifestyle and fashion training there, Vanessa.)

A specially designed Apple Watch sensor uses infrared and visible-light LEDs and photodiodes to detect heart rate.

A specially designed sensor uses infrared and visible-light LEDs and photodiodes to detect heart rate.


Only hours before, an overnight team had turned the store over to make Apple Watch display tables the primary focus. The only let down was that the models you can try on must remain turned off. Only display units fixed to tables offer previews of what it’s like to operate an Apple Watch, but even when turned on in-store, the watches are set to a demo loop. Customers will have to wait until they own one to truly understand the experience of operating one.


You’d be surprised to know that the larger 42mm face size fits a smaller wrist perfectly fine. It simply looks like a chic, chunky piece of jewelry — which isn’t exactly out of style. It would take some time with the 38mm to know if it’s too small, but chances are it’s altogether tolerable. Both sizes feel extremely lightweight and comfortable on the wrist.

42mm Apple Watch on small wrist

The 38mm Apple Watch and Milanese Loop band.


The sturdiest and most beautiful band is the Milanese Loop. This band afforded the easiest on and off and felt incredibly well fastened thanks to its magnetic closure. What hasn’t been clearly communicated is that you can easily swap the straps of whatever model you buy, so long as the watch strap size matches the watch face size. (Editor’s note: An earlier edition of this article misstated that the Milanese Loop strap would not fit on an Apple Watch Sport.)

Apple Watch straps are easily interchangeable, up to an extent.

Apple Watch straps are easily interchangeable, up to an extent.


Pre-order shipping dates are slipping ever further back with every minute. At present, many models will not ship until June. If you want to chance it, there’s a possibility your local Apple Store will have some models in-store to sell on the 24th. For that, you’ll have to wait and see. Either way you go, it’ll be worth the wait.

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