When Apple's the focal-point of a new product launch, I don't think many people ever expect that the product is going to be priced competitively. Apple has long been able to charge some nice premiums on its products because many who buy them believe that they're worth it. Thus, when a product like the Apple Watch finally hits retail, it'd seem safe to believe that it's not going to beat anyone else on price.
While we're not sure of what the pricing is actually going to be until launch, what we do know is that the special 'Edition' models are going to enter Apple into a brand-new luxury territory. According to respected blogger John Gruber, the price of those babies could reach $10,000 easily. Even better: some could reach $20,000, if the configuration is right.
$10,000 for an Apple Watch might sound a little insane, but bear in mind that these are not ordinary watches. As you can see on the official product page, the Edition watches are decked out in high-end materials, including 18-karat gold. It's a little hard for me to consider a computerized watch as "sexy", but I think Apple has really hit the mark on these.
Through his blog, John relays his experience from the Apple Watch announcement event. There, he met up with friend Vincent Nguyen, SlashGear's EiC, who said that the highest-end Apple Watch could cost $20,000. John at first thought that was impossible, but after doing a lot of research (in effect, becoming a watch guru along the way), he came to agree. Originally, he said that $5,000 would be likely, but now he wholeheartedly believes he was off by at least 100%.
After doing his research, John came to the conclusion that Apple is likely to separate its Watch series into five different tiers. The first would be Entry, which would include a basic sport band. Moving up would convert the band to leather. At the third tier, you'd get a watch with the neat Milanese design (seen left, below), while at tier four, you'd get deluxe leather. And tier five, a link bracelet - a common feature of high-end watches.
While it's hard to come up with estimates, John believes the Apple Watch (stainless steel) could cost $700, while the bump up to leather could likewise bump the price to $1,000. Yup - a little expensive for a watch, but those are cheap in comparison to the more luxurious models. John wouldn't be surprised if the Milanese-banded watches cost about $15,000, and the gold link bracelets, $20,000.
Interestingly, what strikes me most about all of this isn't the fact that the watches are set to be so expensive, but rather that there is so much variety in the styles. That's a stark contrast to what we talked about earlier this week, where Apple's lead designer Jony Ive slammed Motorola for giving end-users too much choice. I guess things change when we're talking about products that cost into the tens of thousands, though.