Unboxing Experience

When Apple made the Apple Watch available for preorder, I ordered a regular Sport edition with a white band. I didn’t want to spend tons of money on a first gen device that would probably be replaced in a year anyhow.Then, two weeks later with my Watch in transit, I went to a local Apple Store to check out The Watch in real life. Blown away by the experience, and falling in love with the device, I impulsively ordered an extra Milanese band to replace the, what I though was a, plain Sport Band.

There’s an Apple Watch for everyone. Selecting a watch is very personal. As with all things you wear, how it looks is at least as important as what it does. So we set out to make Apple Watch something you’ll love to use every day. As well as something you can’t wait to put on every morning.

While waiting for my order to arrive, I’ve been using my Watch with its default band and I’ve grown really fond of the Polyelastomer Sport Band. I like it a lot more than I thought I would when I first tried it on at the Apple Store.

Today, ten weeks later, my Milanese band finally arrived and well, after using the white Sport band, I’m not really convinced I should have ordered the extra band. Don’t get me wrong, the band is beautifully crafted and stylish, but where the Sport Watch is a utility, the Milanese Band feels more like jewellery and I’m not really comfortable wearing it.

But getting and wearing the Milanese Band is only half the experience. What impressed me more than the band itself was the unboxing. I expected a nice cardboard box similar to what Apple uses for its iPad covers and iPhone cases, but what I got was a high quality white box, lined with fabric on the inside beautifully displaying the band.

(And what really caught my eye: this is yet another example of a product you can unwrap without any knife or scissors.)

I’m a tech guy, and I’m used to buying gadgets. Apple’s packaging has always been one of the best in the industry, surpassing the standard brown boxes and styrofoam inserts. But unwrapping this Apple Watch accessory felt more like getting a new piece of jewellery than buying a gadget.

Where Apple has always been known as an expensive brand with higher prices than the rest of the market, Apple has now moved from premium to (the illusion of) luxe. But in the end what I’m buying is still a product I use every day and that I consider a utensil similar to a pocket knive or my wallet. So why is Apple spending this much attention on packaging?

While I’m buying a utility, one could argue that delight is in the details, and with the Apple Watch packaging Apple has managed to make me enjoy buying one of their products even more. Imagine buying your next iPhone and getting it packaged in a similar box. Is it a better device? No. Will it cost more? Probably not. But the experience of getting the device is so much better.