As I’ve said many times before, I am platform agnostic. I do have an active interested in all things Apple. One of them is the upcoming Apple Watch. I made some Apple Watch predictions back in September of 2014. Others have been making them more often and since then. The latest coming from Daring Fireball. Gruber has been a mainstay in tech circles as long as I can remember and has a huge following.
I’m not so well known. Hell, I’m not known. I tend to stay behind the scenes but I’ve been changing that lately. So I hope people run across this post as I’m ramping up ohmTown.com and working on a bunch of other projects via my company, HATCHideas.
I’m finding it hard to believe that Apple will expect to demand thousands of dollars for a watch. I just had to get that out there quickly. The Watch Edition uses 18k Gold, but what that means is of the total content of material considered “gold” on the watch, the composite is 75% gold and the rest is other materials. An 18k gold timepiece does not demand thousands of dollars except for watches that will be heirlooms. An electronic timepiece will never be an heirloom. It is obsolete in 6 months and replaced in a year or two. The rush to build software will overpower the capabilities of this years Apple Watch, regardless of its version, Watch, Sport or Edition. Nobody is going to pay even $5,000 for a 38-42mm Apple Watch. The bands will be a separate price, that is most assured, but the secondary market will knock down those prices unless Apple tells potential developers that they can’t have access to the design specs. That won’t happen either. You can’t stop the market.
That Milanese Loop band is probably the most expensive to create, but Gruber thinks the link band is the “highest-end” which one can infer means the most expensive. Both technologies to create the link and the loop are standard practice. You can get a milanese loop in stainless steel for less than $30, and gold for less than $100, from Amazon sellers. I’m sure someone will reply with quality is what matters. Yep. It does. But then bias also blinds when it comes to Apple as we bend our phones removing them from a form fitting case. So, although I think the watch will be a wonderful eye catcher and have great functionality, perhaps it isn’t the band that is the technological wonder that makes the watch so magical.
That is the internal mechanism. That computer that drives everything short of the band, which will probably cost sub-$200 for any version of it, that is what is going to be spectacular. A full computer so small it can drive a lighter version, maybe, of iOS. That I can’t wait to see function. It will rely on another Apple product for full functionality, so sure… the watch will now cost somewhere in the $1600-$1800 range [with the iPhone 6 Plus paid in full].
No, I can’t see even the best Gold version going for more than $1000 for the watch itself. The bands are the great differentiators. They’ll run in price from XX to XXX, but nothing more than $300. These are not intricate mechanical wonders that last generations. These are beautiful tools that have an average life span that broaches that of a gerbil.
Gruber also mentions that this is the lowest price for an Apple product, but this product isn’t like its competitors that people are using as a comparison. Everyone is talking this up like its a Rolex. It isn’t. It’s a calculator watch with much more functionality, but its still a computer. No moving parts. Nothing that can’t be mass produced and replaced under a simple warranty price of $149.
In the section called “The Messaging”, Gruber states that the differences between the collections are largely about style, not price and that Apple created that impression. That isn’t entirely true, there are technical and functional differences between the watches. Aluminum, Steel, Gold, Ion-X glass, Sapphire glass, 38mm, 42mm. Those are the differentiating factors. The rest is largely perceived value. Gold is only worth its value when melted down, even in this instance gold is just something you like and are willing to pay for. So, in that sense, it is about price but in terms of desired style. All of the parts that were spoken of in such wondrous tones in Apple marketing messages are available by third parties. Gruber also apparently thinks that people who buy a phone on contract for $500 or off contract for $1200 are going to buy a watch for $349 at the entry level. They won’t. I don’t see it.
As for storage, I doubt there will be much. This is an interface to your resources. Not a storage device. I’ll limit my speculation to this having 2gb of storage. Pick your battles. Then this whole speculation of modularity. That is just a non-starter but hundreds of words were spent on it. Pricing for iPad/iPhone was only differed because of memory size, all watches will be the same, I suspect.
Finally, this footer about Marco and the 10k+ guesses as to the price of Apple Watch edition. I have one question about that… why should Apple bother engaging or disengaging the speculation? The worst press is no press. Everyone is talking about the Apple Watch and Apple, as usual, enjoys people talking about them. Why? Because then they don’t have to spend so much on marketing themselves. Simple business 101.
So, I’ll stick with my predictions and hopefully I’m right because I’d like to get the best I can justify, and I can’t justify a $10,000 watch. Even if I were to leave it to my son when I am deleted from the matrix.
$349/$499/$799 (38mm)$499/$649/$950 (42mm)
Bands from $20 on up to $500.