The largest, most-successful company on earth has now firmly entered the world of wearable fashion. I’ve heard projections of as many as 60 million Apple Watches being sold in the first twelve months. Judging from the sheet INTENSITY of the reactions that I get with mine, I can easily believe it.
Every time I’m at a restaurant, the server will notice my watch. He or she will ask about it, and suddenly, everything around me slams to a halt. Everybody within range of my table has questions, just like when the first iPhone came out. The difference this time, is that folks are just as interested in the non-Apple strap that I’m wearing.
I can’t over-stress this. There appears to be a deep desire to personalize this new addition to their life. If a device has earned its place upon my wrist from the moment that I wake, until I place it upon my bedside charging-station, it needs to be a deeply personal statement.
Ever since I first laid eyes upon the Apple website showing the Apple Watch, I have thought “Those watch-straps from Apple are BORING”. The leather straps are heavily processed to the point that they look as though they are made of plastic, or chewing-gum found stuck under a bus-station bench. I don’t see them as wearing well, and gracefully gaining patina over the years.
The custom-strap designs that I’m finding are exactly what I love – show-pieces of extraordinary beauty. If all that I wanted was to keep the Apple Watch from falling off of my wrist, I could use duct tape. These are ART!
I will be posting reviews of various watch straps that I have been evaluating. I strongly recommend the folks who custom-craft these straps, after carefully investigating over fifty strapmakers worldwide. These are my criteria:
– They have to care DEEPLY about the personal touch. These folks are my kind of people. They never do less than 100 percent. They have been professional, of course, but they are also accessible on the warmest and most open-hearted levels. This matters the most to me.
– They respond very well to my unusual request for wrist-worn ART. I’m looking for creativity and obvious care. I’m yearning for expert guidance. I’m in the process of building relationships with folks who have much more experience with fashion and personal style than I do.
– They have to be willing to step into a new customer-base, with very different priorities. For instance, I’d much rather take twenty seconds to swap straps, using no tools at all, rather than using fussy little tools and a BIG magnifying-glass (and an older man’s poor hand-eye coordination)! You’d be surprised how few old-world crafters GET this obvious point.
– They grasp that 2015 starts a new phase of human history, when we reach a new level of connectedness. It’s also a huge opening for personal statements about ourselves. This is not obvious to the majority of ateliers and artisans that I have been in contact with. This puzzles me.
I’m struggling with one issue, though. How can I show off all of my glorious acquisitions at once? I will have to get more Apple Watches, and take up two wrists and both ankles! 🙂
The process of paying for purchases with my wrist device is ADDICTIVE. Click twice on the side button, tap the terminal in front of the cash-register with the watch. DONE. That’s going to be a big driver for this technology. I was at the rattiest, dingiest Army-Navy Surplus store that you could imagine today, and I bought $100 worth of gear with two clicks and a swipe of my wrist at the credit-card reader, which was a new one. By law in the USA, EVERY vendor must have a higher-tech card-reader with radio-frequency ability by October 2015. Or else, they will be personally liable for all fraud.
This process only sends a one-time code. The vendor never sees your name, credit-card number, or security-code. If somebody intercepts the code, it does them no good. If somebody steals your Watch, they are allowed ten tries to guess your passcode, before the Watch erases itself. The down-side? It’s an extremely SPENDY way to pay for things. Whoops! Overdrawn AGAIN???
My own watch came with Apple’s Milanese Loop wristband. It’s pretty, and appallingly expensive for what you get. I can’t recommend it, because there are superior choices everywhere online, and for much less cost. The Apple Tax on straps is astonishing. A $500 stainless-steel bracelet from Apple is mighty snappy, but a $50 bracelet made to the exact same standards of materials and manufacture is a lot more alluring to me.
The magnetic catch on my Milanese Loop slips too easily, allowing the watch to come away from my wrist three or four times a day. I can tell, because my watch will suddenly demand my login password. The green lasers on the underside can’t watch my blood flow any more, so I’m suddenly a suspicious stranger. After the first fifty times, it gets tiresome.
Now, I prefer my new, custom-designed straps, made specifically for my enormous wrist, and to my liking. I pop the watch on with a buckle, and it stays firmly secure all day long. My tastes are running toward hand-crafted leather straps that will wear gracefully with age.
The best part of these sumptuous custom straps is the ease of swapping them on and off of the watch. Take off the watch, press the buttons on the back of the watch to release, slide the straps off, and slide the replacement on until it clicks. Twenty seconds maximum. I plan to have several drawers set aside for my collection. Very few strapmakers have clued in on this ability, so I am sending them emailed updates on a regular basis.
I’m vain enough to admit that I’m ordering straps that will specifically go well with different outfits that I have in mind. No shame. I am a fashion-forward kind of guy.
So, let’s talk about the Apple Watch itself. I use the metaphor of a yappy little Pomeranian that is constantly dragging your attention away from your priorities. That’s your smartphone. Some people check their phones hundreds of times in a day.
The Apple Watch is a mellow Golden Retriever. You can adjust its settings until it only alerts you of the things that you NEED and want. Your phone stays in your pocket a LOT more than before. It can be within thirty feet of your Watch, or anywhere in the building if you are using a WiFi network.
My favorite part of receiving alerts is how the Watch gets your attention. Instead of some loud chime or buzz, it “taps” you on the wrist, just like how that would feel if you did it to yourself. Nobody knows except you, when that important email, text-message or call finally shows up. If the phone rings at an awkward time, just cover the Watch with your hand for three seconds to silence it.
Clearly, the Apple Watch is a new, barely-begun technology. I accept that. It has earned its place upon my wrist, no problem. It’s so odd to call it a “watch”. It’s like having my toenail clipping being called “Tony” and representing me. Telling time is the tiniest part of this wearable computer.
I am a busy man – I am a community-leader, I run my own business, and I have a zillion distractions flying at me every day. My Apple Watch allows me to relax a lot more than before I got it a few weeks ago. It acts as a filter. I’m glad that I have it.
First, we had computers that we walked through, then computers that we shared, then computers that we sat down to use, then laptops that we could take with us, then smartphone computers that fit into our pockets, and now computers that we wear. Now, I’m already looking forward to the Apple Brain Implant version 1.0. It’s the next logical step after wearable computers!