Image credit: Apple
During Apple's Spring Forward event, Tim Cook finally announced the Apple Watch pricing, and it's eminently reasonable. Those who thought Apple would gouge us for the sake of status were off the mark.
Here's the official pricing:
- Apple Watch Sport. Aluminum and Ion-X glass: base price: 38 mm: US$349; 42 mm $399
- Apple Watch. Stainless Steel and Sapphire: base price: 38 mm $549; 42 mm $599. Both can range up to $1,049 depending on more expensive bands (like the black stainless steel link bracelet).
- Apple Watch Edition. 38 mm: $10,000; 42 mm: $12,000 and up.
First, I am pleased that the second tier Apple Watch starts at a reasonable, accessible price level. There are several reasons for that. First, the difference in cost of materials between the Apple Watch Sport and the Apple Watch likely isn't that great. Secondly, the smartwatch is heating up and will offer lots of competition. The insane popularity of the Pebble Steel on Kickstarter attests to this.
In concert with all this, Apple recognizes that while the Apple Watch will be a very individualistic fashion item, the company can't price itself out of the market for the average owner of a companion iPhone, especially those for whom the true cost of the iPhone is pleasantly hidden in a contract subsidy. Plus, there are other fish to fry. For example, if popular configurations and bands were stratospherically priced, the "Apple Pay with a watch" revolution wouldn't take off nearly as fast. (Respective revenue notwithstanding.)
As for the Apple Watch Edition, our managing editor, Jeff Gamet, has been insisting that if Apple is going to go toe-to-toe with the competing luxury watches, then its price has to be in the same class as the competition. He was spot on, and so regardless of the troy weight of gold used, the Apple Watch Edition has to be priced on par with other very high end watches ot risk being thought of as an inferior, undesirable competitor.
At these entry level prices, Apple can expect to sell every Apple Watch it can make for the next year, guaranteeing the the success of this new product conceived in the post-Jobs era.