​5 things we learned from our Apple Watch appointment

It's amazing what you can pick up in 15 minutes
​5 things we learned in the Apple Store

Despite having our dedicated correspondents gets hands on with the Apple Watch at the company's global launch events, I was still yet to see the device in the flesh.

Read more: Apple Watch, all you need to know

So first thing this morning, I booked my appointment for a 15 minute appointment at the Regent Street Apple Store, and finally got to try the device that's set to put smartwatches on the map. Here's what I learned…

1. The 38mm Apple Watch is tiny

From looking at hundreds of pictures of the Watch, I wasn't prepared for how small either device was going to be.

It's not the thinnest and there's a definite chunk, but the fact that the face doesn't dominate your entire wrist kind of excuses the slightly larger profile.

The 42mm Apple Watch had a much smaller footprint than any other smartwatch I've reviewed, but the 38mm really impresses. While the 38mm wasn't for me personally, it really feels as if the Apple Watch is the first smartwatch to be truly designed for the female wrist – and not before time.

2. Demand is not off the charts

Yes, it's not available to buy until 24 April, but Apple has successfully nuked the excitement of the traditional launch day. While there was a buzz around the Apple Watch cases, the store seemed no busier than any sunny morning in the Easter holidays, with tourists and shoppers alike.

I managed to book a 15 minute slot with an hour's notice, and the demonstrator mentioned the morning had been "relatively slow" with mostly "Apple employees from upstairs" coming down in the first hours of trading for their own first peeks.

While the online sales have caused delays to shipping, if the in-store buzz was anything to go by, it's low supply rather than high demand that's causing the bottleneck.

3. You don't get to play with it

We had our 15 minute appointment, and like you'd expect from an Apple Store, we weren't rushed. There was an enormous range of Sport and Watch versions to try, and we went through a host of variations.

However, I was naively shocked that the Watch was stuck in demo mode. Turning the Digital Crown or tapping the screen was futile, and as such, it was simply an exercise in wearing not using.

The Apple Watch is a hard thing to demo, and unless you painfully integrate it with every customer's phone, it's very hard to offer an experience. I get that – and the need for a cycling video of features on the Watch. But I just thought Apple would overcome that problem somehow, and like many of the issues with smartwatches (battery life, supply, advanced health metrics) it hasn't.

4. It's the most beautiful smartwatch

I've worn and used pretty much every smartwatch of the current wearable era, and it's no contest: the Apple Watch is the most beautiful. The screen is pin-sharp and the straps are gorgeous. It looks like a watch you want to wear because it makes you feel good, not just because it's functionally useful.

And that brings us onto my final learning...

5. Apple's still got it

For all the negatives, when I left the store – I wanted the Apple Watch. And I didn't just want the Sport version, which I'd purchased online earlier in the day.

I wanted the expensive Apple Watch.

I wanted the Milanese strap. I wanted the £599 first-gen Apple product. The one that's short of obvious features and certain to be superseded within a year. I wanted the smartwatch that's 10 times less useful to me than the brilliant Garmin Vivoactive, which I reviewed last week.

And it proved one thing: whether you're a lover or a hater, Apple's still got it.

What do you think?

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