Insiders Claim Steel Apple Watch to Start at $500, Gold at $4,000

When Apple unveiled its Apple Watch, the company said the starting price would come in at US$349, but insider sources are claiming the stainless steel version will start at $500. Those sources also say the high-end gold Apple Watch Edition will start between $4,000 and $5,000, which is lower than many have been expecting.

Apple's mid-range smartwatch will likely start at $500Apple's mid-range smartwatch will likely start at $500

Assuming the sources are correct, that pegs the anodized aluminum Apple Watch Sport as the lower-priced $349 model.

The anonymous sources, speaking with the French site iGen (English translation), also said Apple will ship its smartwatch in time for Valentine's Day in February. While a February release would be nice because it would get Apple Watch on consumer's wrists earlier, doesn't fit with Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts comments saying the smartwatch will ship in Spring 2015.

Apple Watch is a smartwatch device with sensors for tracking fitness activities and heart rate. It links to your iPhone to display alerts and messages, lets you reply to messages, shows turn-by-turn directions, learns your fitness routine and offers suggestions for improvement, and more. Three models in two sizes with multiple band options will be available when Apple Watch ships.

Hopefully Apple will release Apple Watch earlier in the year instead of some time in Spring, because even though products like Microsoft's new Band and Fitbit's just announced Surge aren't direct competitors, they are enticing enough to draw away some sales. Waiting until Spring could cost Apple some momentum, too.

iGen has been accurate in the past with Apple information, so they may be right on the pricing, but we're going with Angela Ahrendts on the release time frame because she's clearly in a good position to know when her own company's products will ship.