Wrist-On With The New Apple Watch Try-On Process

Last night, I flew into New York City under cover of night, and realized that I was only blocks away from Apple’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue. I furiously did research into how to make an appointment this morning to get an Apple Watch fitting at the store. Finally I decided to just wing-it seeing as no one had a straight answer for me. I set my SleepCycle alarm for 2:55am EDT and fell asleep.
I woke up in a panic in the middle of the night thinking I had over slept, but as it turned out it was 2:56am exactly. I grabbed my iPad, switched off my alarm from my phone, and sat there steeped in anticipation; determined to be one of the general public to get my hands on a device. Knowing my nature of being indecisive I decided to go for the Apple Watch fitting appointment first as opposed to a pre-order (Click here for to schedule a try on appointment). When I opened my Apple Store App on my phone it took me all of one–one and a half minutes to find where to schedule my “fitting.” I furiously typed in my AppleID and password, and selected the Fifth Avenue  store. Much to my surprise there was a 9:15am appointment available to me, the first time slot open of the day.


After I made my appointment I looked through the watches to make my pre-order selection. Myself being myself, and being indecisive on every choice I make, realized I can not make this choice without seeing the product first, even though I know I could cancel the order and reschedule (which I’ve done three times already today from changing my order). This ended up as a mistake seeing as every watch on Apple’s site is now on back order until June at least (some all the way out until July). This sell out seemed instantaneous, and it happened within 15-20 minutes of the pre-oreders starting. For some of the watches, most took up until 2:00pm EDT today for the back order to reach that distance in the future. What watch did I end up pre-ordering? I ended up pre-ordering the Space Black Links 42mm watch ($1,099) with a black Sport band ($50) on the side.
When I arrived at the Apple Store this morning at 8:40am EDT (doors opened at 9:00am). Upon arrival, I was expecting Apple’s usual around the block line to get in. However I was surprised that the line was only 10 or 20 people large, and ended being about 40 people by the time the doors opened. Apple staff was on hand out side of the store checking people in for their appointments and getting signatures for image/sound wavers because they were recording the event I assume for their next KeyNote and their website. I got checked in and ushered indoors where Apple staff was cheering and clapping as we entered (as they tend to do). The whole process up, until the point where I actually started trying on devices, was painless and easy.

Then the awkwardness began. A kind Apple Store employee offered to help me and brought me over to the case of Apple Watches, he told me that I would be able to try on the Apple Watches here. Unfortunately, that wasn’t his job, and he had to spend 15 minutes searching the store trying to figure out who I was supposed to go see. Even the management seemed to
not understand the process. Even the person who helped me try on the time pieces didn’t seem to fully understand the process, and the trying out station I was assigned to didn’t have a fraction of all of the watch collections.
It was all clumsy, yet seemed very structured and strict as compared to the usual customer friendly, loose, Apple. I set my coat on the table where I was trying watches on and even got yelled at because nothing was allowed on the tables. Again, this was all weird for me to experience, and it seemed to make the employees stressed out because they felt the same awkwardness of the system. It felt like some strict teacher was standing over their shoulders making sure the strict process was followed to a t and any deviation must be stopped.

The other awkward thing I noticed about the Apple Watch fitting was that all of the Apple Watches were loaded with video software, and that you couldn’t actually use the device while you were wearing it. To be fair they had watches on little stands that did work so you could get to know the interface, however it isn’t the same thing as trying on and using it on your wrist. Fortunately I was taken under the wing of the Apple video producer who recorded me going to various stations and trying on watches which gave me more freedom during the trying on experience than most people got. I noticed that some of the fitting stations had more of a selection than the others.

All and all, I don’t really know what to say about my first impressions of the Apple Watch. Its obviously a beautiful design, and its surprisingly light. Really the best two options that I saw were between the black Apple Watch Sport and the Space Black Apple Watch. I was pleased with how soft the Apple Watch Sport band was as opposed to rubbery.
Because of how structured the fitting appointments are, its really hard to get a feel for the product, and I won’t get my hands on one until July. Angela Ahrendts has changed up the Apple Store system, and you can feel the effects of the awkward transition. I am sure that in the coming days the system will stream line and everything will both flow better and become less structured. One of the Apple Store employees who worked with me was actually flown in from their desk job at the Apple Online Store call center to help with this launch and has shown how, “Ahrendts is trying to merge the online store and the real life stores closer together.”

For the most part, reviewers have loved Apple Watch. Most of the reviews have praised the watch for helping the iPhone addicts (such as myself) wean off of always looking at their device. The Apple Watch starts at $349 and goes all the way to $17,000 depending on watch size, model, and band. Pre-orders start now, and sales/shipments start on April 24th, however most shipments have been pushed back as far as June, or July.

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