By Jason Snell
September 24, 2020 2:59 PM PT
Notes on buying an Apple Watch Solo Loop
Note: This story has not been updated since 2020.
I bought an Apple Watch band today, which isn’t news. I’ve done it many times in the past. Today it was a new Apple Watch Solo Loop, after I discovered that a color I was interested in (Deep Navy) wasn’t available for weeks via delivery—but was available for in-store pickup at my local Apple Store the next day.
But I haven’t been to my local Apple Store, or the shopping center it’s located in, since February.
So today I went, and while the center was pretty quiet, there were people all around, all following the center’s mask policy. I walked down to the Apple Store and there was a socially-distanced line being managed by multiple Apple employees. It was really more like three lines—so far as I can tell, one to get into the store, one to wait for a pick-up, and an initial line you wait in until they’re ready to put you in one of the other lines.
I waited in the first line for all of a minute, at which point an Apple employee scanned my Apple Wallet bar code and pointed me to a waiting spot outside the doors of the store. After another couple of minutes, another employee emerged with my box and I was on my way.
While I was waiting, I looked into the store and it seemed busy — for a new definition of busy. So far as I could tell, every person in the store was being accompanied by an Apple employee. It was the emptiest I’ve ever seen the store, but in today’s context it was a lot of people sharing an indoor space together. I’m not really planning on going inside the Apple Store anytime soon, but it’s good to know that I don’t have to rely on shipping if I want to make an Apple Store order.
I’m hearing from my sources in Apple Retail that rolling out these bands when few people can go into stores to try them on for size has really backfired. There are a lot of returns. And however much waste Apple is saving by not including a power adapter in the box, it’s being counteracted at least a bit by all the waste that comes from people getting a band, opening the package, finding that it doesn’t fit, and returning the band.
I’m also baffled that Apple didn’t do what John Gruber did and provide a reference that converts the dots on the standard Sport Band to a size for the Solo Loop. For a lot of people, that would’ve saved a lot of heartache.
In any event, I used Gruber’s post to choose my size. The problem is, I use two different notches on my Sport Band! One’s a bit too loose and makes the heart-rate monitor complain; one can be a bit too tight from time to time. I decided to err on the side of tightness, especially since everything I’ve read about the band suggests that people tend to order them too loose, not too tight.
So is the Deep Navy Solo Loop Size 6 the right size for me? Probably, though it’s a little bit tight—but again, I think I’m right to err on the side of tightness rather than having my watch flop around on my wrist thanks to a loose band. And putting the watch on and off by stretching the band like so much taffy is going to take some getting used to. We’ll see how this new band style wears over time, and if it ends up in my drawer with the other watch bands I’ve accumulated over the years, or if it stays on my wrist.
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