Apple Watch Announcement

Apple, as expected, announced details about their watch today.

The “sport” edition will cost $349 (38mm) or $399 (42mm)

The stainless steel edition will cost from $549-$1099 (38mm, depending on band) or $599-$1149 (42mm, again depending on band)

The gold edition will start at $10,000 and go up to potentially $17,000.

John Gruber guessed:

  • Apple Watch Sport (all colors, with Sport Band): $349/399
  • Apple Watch, steel, Sport Band: $749/799
  • Apple Watch, steel, Classic Buckle: $849/899
  • Apple Watch, steel, Milanese Loop: $949/999
  • Apple Watch, steel, Modern Buckle (38mm only): $1199
  • Apple Watch, steel, Leather Loop (42mm only): $1299
  • Apple Watch, steel, Link Bracelet: $1499/1599
  • Apple Watch, space black steel, Link Bracelet: $1899/1999
  • Apple Watch Edition, Sport Band: $7499/7999
  • Apple Watch Edition, Modern Buckle (38mm only): $9999
  • Apple Watch Edition, Classic Buckle (42mm only): $10,999

So he pegged sport (not that that was wildly difficult), thought that the steel would be about $200 more expensive than it turned out to be, and thought that the Edition would start $2500 less than it actually was.

And, honestly, not a lot of other new information was surfaced in today’s event.  It mostly recapped September.

My impression:  it seems like a nice smartwatch.  I am unconvinced that smartwatches have anything real to offer as a product category.  I stand by my prediction that it will sell well in April, will have mostly flat sales in a year, and then slowly decline.

EDIT:  Oh, and as to the high end prices.

Yeah, they’re a lot.  Who cares?

The price that matters for the Apple Watch was the one that we knew back in September: $350, and the one that was easily predictable: $400.  The entry-level version will certainly account for 80% of the sales, and quite possibly 99% of the sales.  And they’re in line with normal Apple pricing: about 20-30% more than comparable products.

If the Apple Watch succeeds, it will be because people buy and find significant value in the entry models.  And the success or failure of the aWatch will be determined by whether there is a significant use case in a smart watch beyond “shave a couple of seconds off the time it takes me to see a text message.”

If Apple doesn’t sell a single watch at the $1,000+ price point, but the $350 aWatch is mega-popular, then the aWatch will be a huge success.  If the aWatch becomes the must-have style item of 2015 and sells 5x the expected amount in the $1,000+ price point, but doesn’t catch on at the $350 price point, then in a few years aWatch will be dead, dead, dead.  Apple is surely aware of this, and no matter what else, they will try to produce a value proposition at $350-$400.  You can ignore every other version of the watch.

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