Apple Watch a hit on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile

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Shannon Stroh, of Plymouth, Minn., tries on a Apple Watch at the downtown Chicago store. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
Shannon Stroh, of Plymouth, Minn., tries on an Apple Watch at the downtown Chicago store. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

CHICAGO — It didn’t matter that Mel Torgusen had already ordered her Apple Watch at 2 a.m.

She still had to be at the Apple Store on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile at 10 sharp — just to touch one.

“Ever since the announcement, I’ve been counting down the days,” said Torgusen, standing at one of a dozen stations the store had set up for prospective buyers to try the watch. “I’m an Apple person and I didn’t need to try it on to know I’d want one.”

A steady stream of the curious and devoted filed into the store Friday for the big Apple Watch preview. There were about 20 people who had signed up for the early appointments lined up outside the store when the doors opened. Others who did not schedule appointments for a personal tour went past a showcase of watches, then quickly registered for private showings.

A personal showing, by appointment only, for the new Apple Watch. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
A personal showing, by appointment only, for the new Apple Watch. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

By the time 20 minutes had passed, the glass case was smudged with fingerprints from people leaning and pointing. Two gold watches, the luxury models that start at $10,000, were in one corner of the case and were the darlings of the display — and the subject of several customers’ iPhone photos.

There was just one naysayer without this Apple in their eye, but judging by the gaping mouths and puddles of drool, the Apple fans at the downtown Chicago store seem all in. Preorder began early Friday for the watch, which officially hits wrists April 24.

A line of Apple customers, who had registered for appointments to try on the Apple Watch, wait for the doors to open at the downtown Chicago store. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
A line of Apple customers, who had registered for appointments to try on the Apple Watch, wait for the doors to open at the downtown Chicago store. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

“I’m not an impulsive buyer. I wanted to see what one felt and looked like,” said Martin Prieto, of Chicago. “I do like it and will buy one. I read a study where the average person looks at their phone over 200 times a day. I’m a stocks guy and I bet I look on my phone 40 times a day. It will be nice to not pull out my phone so much.”

One Apple salesman said he ordered his watch with the space black link band at 2 a.m. and learned it wouldn’t ship until late June because of the popularity of that style.

“I like how it looks, it seems easy to use but I’m a gadget guy,” said Terrence McBride, of Chicago. “I plan to buy one, but the only concern I have is Apple puts out a new phone every year. Will this watch still work?”

Mel Togusen, left, and her friend,  Chris Brown, look at different styles of Apple Watches. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
Mel Togusen, left, and her friend, Chris Brown, look at different styles of Apple Watches. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
An Apple fan takes an iPhone photo of two gold Apple Watches on display. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
An Apple fan takes an iPhone photo of two gold Apple Watches on display. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Shannon Stroh, visiting from Plymouth, Minn., was glad she had an appointment to try one on before ordering hers.

“I was looking at getting the bigger screen, but when I tried it on it was too big,” she said. “The small one is perfect for a woman’s wrist.”

“I’m an Apple person and I get why you need a watch,” she continued. “I have friends who have Android phones and I try to talk to them about switching to Apple and there’s no convincing them.”

She may be right. Ashley Scott of Chicago has an Android phone but stopped by the Apple store to investigate the fuss.

Scott said she will stick to Android.

“I’m just not a small-screen person,” she said. “It’s cool for people who like Apple. It’s just not for me.”

Who wants two? Gold Apple Watches on display at the downtown Chicago Apple store. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
Who wants two? Gold Apple Watch Editions on display at the downtown Chicago Apple store. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac