Apple Watch In-Store Experience

When it comes to Apple products, you need to experience them to understand them fully. Take them home. Use them. Integrate them into your life. Then observe how your life has changed. If it’s changed for the better, that’s awesome. Generally, that’s true for me when I buy a new Apple product.

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I was driving past the Northbrook Court mall in Deerfield, IL and remembered the Apple Watch launches today. Time to check it out in person to see what all the fuss is about.

I waited about 5 minutes after putting my name in for a “fitting” session. A typical 20-something Apple dude walked me over to a new addition to the Apple Store, a soft mat and black cloth sitting on the table. The fitting was about to begin.

Right away, I decided if I am going to get an Apple Watch, it’s going to be Sport, black wrist band, and space grey casing. Easy call.

Next came the “demo.” The Apple dude helped me put the watch on. While I appreciated the help, I've done this before. Did my new Apple friend think this was the first time I've tried on a watch? It seemed like it. It was kinda weird. He probably didn’t know before the iPhone came out, I used to wear a watch all the time. I’m 45. Watches existed my entire life.

Honestly, the demo was disappointing. Instead of getting a real Apple Watch, you know, one that works, I got a demo model placed on my wrist. A demo model looks and feels like a real Apple Watch, but it’s not a real Apple Watch. The screen turns on but it only shows a looping demonstration of some of the stuff the Apple Watch can do. The demo watch available to try is just like the Apple Watches in the case. What sucks is you can’t actually play around with the features. It’s a mildly entertaining show, but it’s not a real demo.

Then I realized I can’t test the notification features with the demo version. I as understand it, this is the primary feature of Apple Watch. I’m talking about all of the notification elements, including the revolutionary Taptic Engine. That was curious to me, so I asked my new friend.

“How can I test the Taptic Engine, to see what it feels like?” I asked the Apple dude. I wanted to test this specifically because it sounds cool. I just read and article where Jonny Ive spent a year optimizing how the taps should feel on your wrist for different kinds of notifications. I wondered what he came up with.

“Do you mean Force Touch?” he replied.

“No, I mean the Taptic Engine. You know, the part on the back that taps your wrist,” I clarified.

“Oh, you have to put two fingers under this Apple Watch to test it,” he said pointing to another Apple Watch that was mounted on a large piece of plastic. This piece of plastic was presumably glued to the watch to prevent customers from putting a real Apple Watch on their wrists.

At this point I’m asking myself, “WTF? What the hell is going on here?”

Is there a reason why I can’t use a REAL Apple Watch on my wrist before shelling out $400? I couldn’t think of one. I still can’t think of one good reason and it’s been over 30 minutes since I left the store. Can you think of any reasons why I can't try a real Apple Watch at the Apple Store?

My experience trying to buy the Apple Watch was a disappointing one. I left the store thinking, “Meh.”

Am I going to buy an Apple Watch? I’m not sure. I don’t get it yet because I haven't been able to experience it. Like I said, Apple Watch is one of those products you need to experience. It’s too bad experiencing a real Apple Watch at an Apple Store is impossible.

What I am 100% sure of is this — the experience at the Apple Store certainly didn’t help make the case that I should strap a hunk of metal to my arm, even if it is a sophisticated, beautifully-designed hunk of metal.

As a shareholder, I am worried.

As a Steve Jobs fanboy, I’m sure he wouldn’t have put up with this shit. Is this a difference that will matter in a Post-Steve Jobs world?

Apple — please iterate quickly so I can try to integrate your latest innovation into my life. After years of development, millions of dollars spent and tons of hype, please let me try the Apple Watch. Is that really too much to ask?