Analyst: Apple Watch Edition to Cost $950

Citigroup analyst Jim Suva weighed in with his expectations for Apple Watch pricing following the news that Apple is hosting a media event on March 9. Apple already announced pricing will start at US$349—presumably for the Apple Watch Sport—and he thinks Apple Watch will cost $550 while the Apple Watch Edition will be priced at $950. He's also pegging April 16 as the smartwatch's official release date.

Citigroup analyst thinks Apple Watch Edition will cost $950, not $5,000Citigroup analyst thinks Apple Watch Edition will cost $950, not $5,000

On Apple's March 9 media event he said,

We expect Apple to give specifics on the launch time, price, and geographic locations, which we estimate as: Launch date: April 16th; Price points: $350, $550 and $950; with a launch limited to the U.S., followed by Europe and Asia in the subsequent months.

Setting Apple Watch Sport at $350 and the standard Apple Watch at $550 falls in line with the general consensus, but the $950 price point he's targeting for Apple Watch Edition comes in well below expectations. Apple Watch Edition ships with a gold body instead of aluminium or stainless steel, and is generally expected to start somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000.

Mr. Suva said he expects Apple will offer a wide variety of accessories for Apple watch with bands starting at $29 and topping out in the hundreds of dollars. He also thinks hundreds of apps will be available on launch day.

He offered up his thoughts on which features we'll see in Apple Watch when it launches saying, "We expect features to include Apple Pay, adjustable notifications due to personal frequency and preferences, Apple Health, variable haptic feedback, and battery life of one day (under normal use)."

Shoppers hoping to be the first to get an Apple Watch will be able to buy theirs in Apple's own retail stores and through the company's online store. Mr. Suva expects Apple's smartwatch won't be available through other retailers.

Apple sent out media invitations on Thursday for a March 9 event teased as "Spring forward," which is a play on the Day Light Saving change happening on March 8, and likely a thinly veiled hint that we'll be getting more Apple Watch news.

When Apple first showed off its smartwatch last September, we saw three models with a wide selection of bands, support for tracking basic fitness activity such as steps and distance walked, along with heart rate logging. Apple Watch will also offer Apple Pay support, and will require an iPhone to perform many of its tasks.

Mr. Suva has a "Buy" rating on Apple's stock along with a $135 target price. Apple is currently trading at $129.59, down 0.82 (0.63%).

[Thanks to Barrons for the heads up]