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Golden Apple: Thoughts on potential Apple Watch prices

Michael Simon | March 9, 2015
I can't remember a time in Apple's history when I was this anxious about a slide. On Monday morning, Tim Cook will take the stage and fill in all of the blanks he left during September's Apple Watch demo; we'll learn about apps and battery life and bands, and then sometime toward the end of his presentation, he'll click his remote and the room will go silent.

Unaffordable luxury

The decision to spend a few extra dollars on an Apple product is generally based on need. 128GB vs. 64GB. 15 inches vs. 13 inches. LTE vs. Wi-Fi. But there's no such distinction between the Apple Watch tiers. The decision to spend three hundred or three thousand dollars is entirely based on preference and affordability. No matter how high it goes, Apple Watch Edition is a pure status symbol.

I could see $5,000, but a five-figure Apple Watch seems outlandish. Apple may fancy itself a high-end watch maker, but people Rolexes to pass down through generations; Apple Watch is, first and foremost, a piece of technology with a definite shelf life. Not only does it raise all sorts of questions about longevity, repairs, bugs and warranties, but chief among them is whether the world is ready for such an astronomically priced product from Apple. For the first time since the TAM, I might not buy the Apple product I really want because it's just too much.

But with the TAM, Apple was selling a limited, one-of-a-kind item that pushed the boundaries of what was possible with computer design. Apple Watch Edition does no such thing; it's the exact same product as the Sport, just in a luxurious case. Apple Watch may be Apple's most personal device yet, but I shouldn't need a personal loan to afford the one I want.


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