So, I did try on the Apple Watch. Contrary to cities like San Francisco where appointment times were fully booked, Miami’s Apple Stores had some slots available. Courtesy of my sister’s overnight babysitting, I made it to the crowded Apple store at 9:30 PM on launch day, April 10.
I have to hand it to Apple for making Apple Watch would-be buyers feel special. The watches were available to touch and to play with around the store but trying them on was limited in a cordoned-off area within the store. I can only guess that the Gold Edition was to be tried on somewhere else.
Unfortunately, the functionality of the watch was not really apparent. The watch that you try on is in a pre-installed loop of Apple apps. You can dial the crown and tap on the demo watches but it was hard to tell just how well the watch will perform in real life. There was quite a bit of a lag which could either be software-related or a result of an overburdened wireless network. Siri responded to my query of giving me directions to the nearest Shake Shack – with some lag but again it could have been due to connectivity. Some of the watches I tried on were also a little hot to the touch but I’m not sure if that will be a problem with real-life use. Not much to report on its functionality then.
But. It is a beautiful watch. Let me rephrase that – the Apple Watch selection of bands are beautiful. The Sport Edition is so-so and makes the watch look cheap but everything else is beautifully designed. The Milanese Loop felt really good to wear and surprisingly light. Apple’s idea of using magnetic closures make the watches very convenient to put on.
So, my verdict? If Apple set out to make a watch that will appeal to the fashion crowd and overcome the nerdy factor of buying a wearable, then they have succeeded. Because functionalities aside, people will buy it for the looks. The bands alone made me want to switch back to iOS, that’s how beautiful it was and I’m not alone. The watch was sold out in 6 hours, pushing the delivery date to June. Reportedly, 1M units have been sold but Apple hasn’t released the official sales figures yet.
Here are the most relevant news in tech and retail this week:
- The European Union formally accuses Google of antitrust violations, fines could reach $6.4B; Google releases a blog post in response to allegations; great summary of the case here
- IBM and partners (including Apple) launches Watson Health Cloud, will provide a cloud platform and analytics for Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit
- Space: NASA’s Curiosity rover has found salty, liquid water on Mars; SpaceX’s sixth official mission to resupply space station a success but drone ship landing was “too hard for survival”
- Nokia confirms buy of rival Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion; acquisition to complete in first half of 2016
- Chinese social networking company Renren led a $70M investment in San Francisco-based peer-to-peer mortgage startup LendingHome
- U.S. retail sales rebound, post largest gain in a year at 0.9%
- Online handcrafts marketplace Etsy IPO’s at Nasdaq, shares double on debut, valuing company at $3.88B
- LVMH reports jump in Q1 sales, boosted by weak euro
- China e-commerce company JD.com opens cross-border online shopping platform JD Worldwide in challenge to Alibaba
- Mobile shopping app Spring raises $25M at valuation of $90M