My wife doesn’t care about technology. It’s not that she dislikes it or that it is intimidating – quite the contrary, she actually picks up things pretty quickly. It’s that she just doesn’t allow herself to depend on it the way I, and most of my friends, do. If we went back to the dark ages tomorrow and had to live by candlelight, she would acclimate far faster than I would. After we had been dating a few years, I bought her a watch for her birthday. It was a small Tag Heuer Automatic Link with a mother of pearl face and it was (in my opinion) tiny. She had never worn a watch before and she tried to wear it for me but it just didn’t take. It is now a $1500 reminder that my wife should be involved in the purchase of anything new that I expect her to wear. So when I bought a FitBit last year, I did not make the mistake of buying her one as well. But a funny thing happened: she started seeing the competitions my friends and I were having and how much more active it made me and she started to get jealous. I was given the go-ahead to buy her one as well. She took to it instantly and was unsatisfied if there were any people in her friends list with more steps than her. And while she complained that the band was often uncomfortable due to her very thin wrists, she still wore it everyday without fail.
Fast forward to the September 2014 Apple Watch announcement. While I salivated at my TV screen watching the teaser video of the band/case interface and the Milanese loop bracelet grabbing itself as the magnet caught, all she saw was something bigger than her small – and still uncomfortable – FitBit and she was not sold. I arrived at the realization that we probably wouldn’t be able to compete on our fitness/activity anymore since I would be migrating to Apple Watch while she remained on the FitBit platform.
On Thursday April 9th at 11:57pm I began refreshing my Safari window waiting to buy my new, and already loved, Apple Watch. I made three separate orders: A 42mm Space Grey Sport and a 42mm Stainless with black fluoroelastomer for myself (as I was still undecided) and a 38mm white Sport for my wife, with the knowledge that it would almost definitely be returned after I was yelled at for spending $350 on something she would never wear. I then scheduled try-on appointments for both of us.
When we walked into the Apple Store, the display models she immediately saw were all 42mm and she exclaimed, “that’s enormous.” I was discouraged but we forged ahead and I asked the Apple employee for a 38mm white Sport for her to try on. She held it in her hands and the first thing out of her mouth was, “wow that’s way lighter than I thought it was going to be.” I began to get excited. Then it went on her wrist…
A little backstory: My wife is skinny and has 143mm wrists. Her FitBit model is the Charge HR and the reason she finds it uncomfortable is that the inflexible center section of the device is long – longer than her wrist is wide – and therefore the band doesn’t touch her skin all the way around. It creates two small gaps where the flexible band attaches to the inflexible electronics.
Apple Watch, while having an overall volume that is larger than the FitBit Charge HR, has a case that is actually shorter than the electronics of the FitBit. It hugged her wrist like it was created for her and she said it felt like it wasn’t there at all. Success?! Not yet. She still wasn’t sold. In her mind the FitBit did everything she needed as far as tracking activity and she wasn’t bought into the idea of spending 3x more on Apple Watch. Then it vibrated on her wrist as the demo video showed a (fake) incoming call. The FitBit does caller ID as well so this wasn’t a big deal but when the Apple employee mentioned that she could answer the call on her watch as long as the phone was connected via Bluetooth, her mouth almost hit the floor. “You mean I can leave my phone on the counter and not have to carry it around the house all the time?!” Sold.
I then pushed my luck with her a little and ended up gaining new perspective on one of the most unappealing aspects of Apple Watch. I mentioned to her that she would need to charge the Watch everyday, not just every 4-6 days like she does with her FitBit. She immediately said, “that’s actually better. My FitBit lasts almost a week but when it tells me it’s about to die, it’s often at an inconvenient time and place. Knowing I have to charge every night will put me into a routine with it like I do with my iPhone and I’ll never run out of battery at 9am again.” I had never thought of this but it’s true. Human beings are creatures of habit. We like routines and schedules and we already routinely plug our iPhones in every night. The relatively shorter battery life of Apple Watch compared to competitors in this space will not be as big an issue as I initially told myself.
If Apple Watch can make a believer out of a person like my wife, it can make a believer out of anyone. I can’t wait to begin using it.
Chris Stark is a writer and blogger for AppleWatchCommunity.com