The MacFormat team’s first impressions
My only real gripe was that it was not always clear what each input method would actually do
I’ve always worn a watch, so when Apple announced what is really the first proper smartwatch the world will pay attention to, I was hoping the release would be soon. Ironically for a timepiece, it turned out to be quite a wait. That might have dampened my expectations, but now it’s here I’m actually taken aback by its quality. When Apple said Watch is the ‘most personal device we’ve ever made’, it wasn’t wrong. I can get the crucial notifications I need but already feel free from the shackles of mobile devices. That’s slightly odd because you need an iPhone (5 or newer) for it, but I’m no longer conscious of having to pocket my iPhone 6 for everywhere I go, even when I’m around the house and urgently checking those Saturday football scores!
For me, the 38mm Apple Watch Sport is the right version. Yes, it’s the cheapest, yet I don’t feel that it’s in a different class to the higher end models at all. That said, I covet the Stainless Steel Case with Link Bracelet. Partly because I’ve worn watches with links for years and to me this one seems like a ‘real’ watch, more than just brilliant wearable tech. It’s quality jewellery.
The killer feature for me, so far, has to be the Digital Crown. Yes, it’s just a control mechanism but the responsiveness is where it wins. It feels fast and harmonises the mechanical feeling and digital UI perfectly. I love the way you can zoom into your apps with it, and it scrolls better than both touch and most mice I’ve used over the years!
Alex, Commissioning Editor
As someone who hasn’t worn a timepiece for over a decade, I wasn’t falling over myself to preorder an Apple Watch. But in the spirit of open-mindedness, I popped down to my local Apple Store to try one on anyway – and I really was pleasantly surprised by it. The fluoroelastomer strap was far more comfortable than I was expecting, soft to the touch and barely noticeable when worn. I was also taken with the Milanese Loop, which is extremely easy to fit and adjust to any tightness.
As for the Watch itself, the Taptic Engine is very subtle, exerting enough force to attract my attention without becoming irritating. The real star for me, though, is the Digital Crown, which is sensitive yet still precise, and a great way to get around the myriad functions of the Apple Watch.
My only real gripe is that it isn’t always clear what each input method – turning or pushing the Digital Crown, tapping the screen or using Force Touch – will actually do, so it occasionally took me several attempts to get the Watch to do what I really wanted it to do.
Still, this is the kind of thing that becomes natural with use. I’m still holding out for now, but I’ve got plenty to mull over.
Seth, Digital Art Editor
I was decidedly underwhelmed at first. I had difficulty selecting operations, kept trying to pinch to zoom and was confused by Force Touch. I know that using Watch would eventually become habit and the majority of these problems would go away in time. I did particularly like the Maps app, though. It jumped out as a genuinely useful feature. I asked it for directions and its operation was smooth and precise. I can see many of the standard apps coming into their own. As for a model, it would be the 42mm Sport for me.
Alan, Production Editor
The iPod is dead, long live the Watch! I listen to music while walking yet I was surprised that using Apple Watch as a remote control for an iPhone stands out so much. I’m curious to find out how the Watch’s battery holds up when paired directly with Bluetooth headphones. What concerns me, though it isn’t a deal-breaker for my fingers, is the size of app icons and some other on-screen controls, which I fear fat-fingered folk will have difficulty tapping with confidence even on 42mm models. Another niggling issue is how slowly the Digital Crown moves around the circle of favourite contacts.
Strap-wise, there’s only one that surpasses the surprising elegance of the Link Bracelet, and that’s the beautiful Milanese Loop. If only there were a version to match the Space Black Watch.
Paul, Managing Art Editor
Having large hands and wrists, I went to a fitting for my Apple Watch with a bit of trepidation. In the past I have had to send my watches back to the manufacturer for the strap to be adjusted to fit. With a vast array of straps, surely there had to be one that fitted me. I initially pinned my hopes on the black stainless steel strap but it didn’t fit. The assistant then showed me that the links are removable and he assured me that a little later, after launch, you’ll be able to buy extra links – so I could purchase the strap and later buy the extra links to make it fit me. Next up I tried the bright blue Leather Loop strap, which fitted and was extremely comfortable for me.
Having spent 20 minutes going through straps, I finally spent some time with the interface. Like the iPhone, the touch control is best in class, my huge fingers were able to easily pick the smallest icon on the screen, the UI was extremely responsive, and I love the new San Francisco font.
Seth’s choice Christian’s
choice Alex’s choice
Alan’s choice Paul’s choice