iWatch concept: Gábor Balogh

Smartwatch concept: Gábor Balogh

One line jumped out at me immediately from KGI Research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s research note on his predictions for Q3:

The most expensive model of the iWatch line will carry a price tag of several thousand US dollars.

No research analyst has a perfect track record, but Ming-Chi Kuo is more reliable than most, so it’s a far more interesting claim than if it had come from some random source. The question that springs immediately to mind is: could even Apple succeed in selling a smartwatch for “thousands of dollars” … ? 

Nobody expects the iWatch to be cheap. Apple is a premium brand, and its products are priced significantly above most of the competition. This is partly a factor of the value of the brand, but largely reflected in the quality and longevity of the products.

Most of today’s smartwatches are somewhere in $2-300 range, so it’s a safe bet that we can expect to pay more than $300 for the iWatch, and a price of $4-500 wouldn’t be a tremendous surprise. But “thousands of dollars”? That would go way beyond the kind of price premium seen on any other Apple product. Apple is a luxury brand, but it’s a mainstream luxury brand.

An iWatch more expensive than a MacBook Pro?

An iWatch more expensive than a MacBook Pro?

The niche-market Mac Pro aside, and assuming that “several thousands” means more than two, it would make the top-end iWatch Apple’s most expensive product. More expensive than an iMac. More expensive that a Retina MacBook Pro. Is that realistic for what everyone expects to essentially be nothing more than an admittedly very clever iPhone accessory?

Although it seems a stretch at first glance, I think it’s possible. I’ve argued before that the iWatch will actually look like a watch, not like someone strapped an under-sized smartphone to your wrist. Make it sufficiently upmarket, and you’re no longer competing with other smartwatches, you’re competing with other premium-brand watches. And those can go for serious money.

IsseyMiyake

There’s practically no limit to what a watch can cost, but even if we restrict our shopping to single-digit thousands, there’s a surprisingly large market out there. We don’t even need to go into any hushed showrooms to find them: a quick Amazon search for >$1000 watches reveals 398 matches. Rolex, Jaeger, Cartier, Panerai, TAG Heuer, Breitling, Bvlgari and Omega are all luxury brands whose names are familiar to most of us, and none of those brands are short of customers.

Could Apple join them? If it got the design right, I think it could. In fact, it has long struck me that there’s a whole potential market Apple could have been tapping for years through luxury versions of its existing product range. Put top-spec models into exclusive casings and create a sub-brand for the range, and I could see a small but highly profitable niche market.

vertu-ti

Look at Vertu, originally a sub-brand of Nokia. Now, in many ways that’s an absolutely terrible example, as the company mostly specializes in selling the world’s tackiest blingphones to Russian oligarchs. Five dollar phones encased in horrendous diamond-studded casings. But I offer Vertu as an example of how sub-branding can enable what was then a modestly premium phone company to sell models costing thousands of dollars.

I don’t think we need worry about Jony Ive’s studio allowing any diamonds or crocodile leather to cross the threshold, nor are we going to see any gold-plated MacBooks. But the same sleek designs we all know and love in beautifully understated platinum, perhaps?

I do remain a little skeptical. It would be a very big shift for a company that is mostly very conservative in its decision-making, and prides itself on saying “a thousand no’s to every yes.”

But we’ve seen Apple make some interesting hires from the fashion world in the run-up to the iWatch, and if the company did indeed plan to take move into the true luxury market, where better to test the waters than with the iWatch? As ever, let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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96 Responses to “Opinion: Could even Apple sell a smartwatch for “several thousands of dollars”?”

  1. This is an idiotic report, and i personally guarantee that it will not happen. Like the folks who claimed there was ‘no way’ the iPad could sell for under $999. Morons.

    • What this guy says^.

      And to answer the question posed by this article’s title:
      don’t be ridiculous.

    • Dave Huntley says:

      When you are wrong, are u a moron? Or are u one of those who’s never wrong?

      • Jason Piebes says:

        By “moron” I believe he is stating that there is no way a person in Ben Lovejoy’s position, someone who has been writing about Apple for some time, could believe that Apple is producing literally a watch of the most traditional sense. And if someone in Ben Lovejoy’s position did indeed believe this, then their intellectual capacity could be called into question, or at least their intentions for posting an ‘opinion’ perhaps simply to get the crowd riled up…

        Some things are not simply a matter of opinion. In the business world, there are few things simply left to opinion. There are some of us who actually look at Apple from a business perspective and go beyond the gadget geek speculation of what would be ‘cool’. There is a pattern to Apple’s business decisions. There is a history for folks to look through to see how Apple releases products and what kind of products they find value in. For example, one of the most peripheral products they offer is an Airport router. It’s not a product they expect to sell millions of, or not some industry they consider ripe for disruption. It serves simply to bolster their mac/ipad/iphone/apple TV product lines by providing a fantastic and easy way to connect at home. It adds to the experience. Car Care, adds to the experience. A watch serves absolutely no purpose or function within the iOS or MacOS ecosystem. There hasn’t been a single person on the planet asking for an iPod nano to display messages from their iPhone. Nobody.

        Then there’s the gadget usability factor. Nobody wants a watch that they have to plug in and charge. It doesn’t matter how much it costs or what it looks like. The failure of Android watches is testament to this. People do however have interest in bio feedback and health related sensors and the Nike Fuel Band and Fitbit are testament to this. They are not watches. These physiologists that Apple has hired are not watch designers. Angela Ahrendts is a business leader, not a fashion designer. Ben Shaffer is an ex Nike designer, not an ex Tag Heuer designer.

        If folks STILL think Apple is making a watch, then there really isn’t anything else to say.

      • antmeeks says:

        @Jason Piebes: You are right on the money sir.

      • Steve Ballen says:

        @Jason Piebes You have blinders on my friend. Your approach to considering the likelihood of the product isn’t completely asinine, but your rationale and conclusions are. By your logic the iPad should’ve never existed because it did nothing to bolster the iPod/iPhone/Mac ecosystem as it was at the time.

        There are products like the Airport Express that enhance the usability and appeal of the ecosystem, like you say, and there are products that enlarge that ecosystem. This is growth and sustainability. The watch product would fall into the latter category.

        Separately do you think Apple’s entire team of designers and engineers would dimly fall victim to the shortcomings you’re able to point out in a rant on a blog? Nobody was asking for an all touch smartphone in 2006. In fact, your own points serve to undermine your objective. This is a company that creates demand, nay, entire markets, by understanding more about consumers than they do about themselves. They’ve explained consumer psychology before with this quote by Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

        If you were to read through the blogs in 2006/7 pertaining to the iPhone, I bet you’d find a few dozen comments that sound pretty precisely like yours.

        That isn’t me saying with certainty that they are creating a watch, but your reasoning for why it would be foolish are completely invalid.

      • Uncle Free says:

        Apple is making a computer you wear on wrist. And it’s going to look sleek. Call it whatever you want. To say it’s not happening is just ignorance.

      • Jason Piebes says:

        @ Steve Ballen, “Rant” if you disagree, “Insightful response” if you do…
        Great quote from Ford, but It’s a bit forced in this context and doesn’t really apply. Ford wasn’t reviving a dieing industry with his car. Perhaps subliminally you really do understand that it won’t be a watch with digital hands and silly pop-ups, but more of a health/fitness montior similar to more successful products in the industry! The wrist watch has been around for centuries and adding a text message display on the face won’t breath new life into it. We all remember the iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player on the street. In fact, there were many, and they were selling quite well. Today, there are a few makers of silly digital watches and those products are currently collecting dust on store shelves and warehouses. Not opinion, I’m afraid it’s fact. Soooooo…

        And to say the iPad has not bolstered the Apple ecosystem…

        Like I said, if you disagree at this point there is not much else to say. But I would like to see a follow up case study in a couple years detailing why so many folks were dead set on seeing a product with a watch dial on it.

      • JLWord says:

        @Jason Piebes You state, “People do however have interest in bio feedback and health related sensors and the Nike Fuel Band and Fitbit are testament to this.”, in your response then close with,”If folks STILL think Apple is making a watch, then there really isn’t anything else to say.”
        A device that provides biofeedback and is laden with health related sensors would be touting sufficient technological advances, that adding the basic capability to such a device (which do believe is being made-some form of health/wellness device thtvwould presumably be worn on ones wrist Fuelband or Fitbit) to tell time would be exceedingly simple for Apple’s design team. I can’t imagine they would go so far as to build such a comprehensive, wrist worn device (with presumably beautiful design) and not give it the ability to tell time. And to your comment regarding “Nobody wants a watch that they have to plug in and charge.” This is likely true. But the device the ARE making, that will be like a Fuelband or Fitbit, would not require charging. Would the functionality of telling the time on such a device add a considerable power drain. I think your argument is well articulated. I simply disagree and based on what we do of aapple surrounding this topic, and market trends, I am confident that Apple is indeed building a watch. Of course i could be wrong, nome of us really know. But think Apple will be releasing an iwatch.

    • It’s not a report, but an analysis that tries to think about a problem. No need to get insulting.

    • sardonick says:

      Anger management.

  2. Could Apple sell a $7000 iWatch? sure they could the real question is whether it would be successful and whether they would. There are enough rich people who want an iWatch and at $7000 it becomes a status symbol like a Rolex. Celebrities are always seen with an iPhone, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iPad, etc. so the iWatch will be a natural transition without their need to think about whether they can afford it or not. The fans of said celebrities will ofcourse want the iWatch. The real question is whether Apple would do it since that would definitely not be a mainstream product. It would not even approach the scale of an iPhone or iPad. It would be a niche product at that price so would it be worth it?

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      It would indeed. I’m wondering, though, whether it might be less niche than a Mac Pro?

      • A several thousands Apple iWatch could be compared to a Tesla Model S. Look at their success.

      • define ‘niche’. ‘niche’ products are very very expensive products iyo?

        the (new) mac pro is a new product. it hasn’t been sold that long yet.

        i think it is going against the grain, when jonny ive designs an unapologetically croc leathered watch.

        9to5mac blogs that ios 8 will feature this certain healthbook app. wouldn’t that suck if like single digit percentage of users use it, because the accessory costs around the same price (or higher) of the smartphone?

        i want Apple to market this “iWatch” (i hope it isn’t like a watch) in a way that they will focus on “health”. make the accessory “cheap” and try to capture another halo effect.

        besides, i can’t afford a 1000+ usd watch.

      • It will absolutely be just as much of a niche product if not more than the Mac Pro IMHO.The watch, smart watch and health wearable are all already niche products. You could argue that the smartphone was a niche before the iPhone but the phone was not. The tablet may have been a niche but what people learned with the iPad is it was really just a consumer computer. Consumer computers are definitely not a niche product.
        I don’t know if it’s a generational thing or not but my last watch was when I was in second grade and I don’t plan on buying another one anytime soon unless it had some killer feature. Everything the iWatch does my iPhone does already and with Healthbook it will get the rest of it.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        Assuming there will be an ordinary-priced model as well (which is a given if there’s any truth at all to this idea), then I suspect smartwatches as a whole will no longer be considered a niche market. While it would take a lot to sell me on the idea (I haven’t worn a watch for more than a decade), I can see a lot of people buying an iWatch in the $3-500 range. The luxury model then becomes the niche product.

      • Even at $300 it still would have very little appeal to me personally. This entire time I was expecting iPod nano pricing on the iWatch, maybe even around the $200 of an iPod touch. Even then, it would only be if it could work on its own. Most smartwatches require being paired with a phone. That much money, for the convenience of not having to pull my phone out of my wallet is silly to me. Again, maybe I’m not the target audience for these type of devices.

      • The difference is that a “Mac Pro” is a powerful tool used to create media, write apps, etc. not just by individuals but by businesses. Businesses who will purchase them by the hundreds and thousands. The “niche” there is quite large.

        On the flipside, the people who would pay $7,000 for a fitness monitor… extremely small niche, comprised mostly of people who have more money than they know what to do with. Comparisons to anything other than a fitness monitor and or wristwatch are stretching things. I would (and have) absolutely consider a Tesla Model S, I would NOT consider a $7,000 fitness monitor/smartwatch.

        A valid comparison to the Model S might be that they’ll introduce it as a $x,xxx item to get production ramped up on some new types of sensors/technologies that aren’t mass produced yet, then as the people who can afford them buy them and the demand increases, the economies of scale can kick in and drive the price down – Tesla’s business plan all along.

  3. Somehow I don’t think Apple has set its sights that “high” in the market. Unlike Vertu, iPhones are all sub-1000 usd. Their marketing campaigns don’t promote iProducts as luxury things and I don’t think that this is about to change. It’s the normal next-door person that they’re after. Creativity, every-day life, enjoyment.

    They’ll make a lot more profit if the iWatch is affordable to most. And somehow I suspect they’re gonna market very heavily the health-and-fitness features. I bet they will focus on the idea “let us help you keep better track of your health” (while staying productive). So, no bling for me. There might exist options to make the iWatch ultra-luxurious, but it won’t be the center of their marketing campaign, methinks.

  4. George Lacy says:

    What’s with the iWatch obsession? Apple has never said they were making a watch.

    • PMZanetti says:

      Right…because they came right out and said they were making a Phone, and a Tablet. I remember that. There was a guy on stage actually showing them at the same time.

  5. It’s hard to imagine this is true. A high-end watch in the thousands of dollars is a piece of jewelry. People collect them. Even if Apple were to release a $600 model and a $3000 model with the different being plastic vs finely crafted metal that looks like a collector’s piece, it will never be what a Rolex, Jaeger, Cartier, Panerai, etc is. Those pieces are timeless. They will alway work and be close to the pinnacle of perfection in what they are. The iWatch will likely be updated yearly… I can’t imagine people dishing out money for a piece which will be outdated in a couple of years and that will stop functioning completely in 15… Unless the price difference is driven by functionality and not style. Still it just doesn’t feel right. $600 – $1200 is my prediction.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Yes, updating would be an issue in that kind of price-bracket. Then again, Apple has always provided iOS updates for several years, and there is likely a market that can consider even a $$$$ watch as affordable every few years.

    • Dave Huntley says:

      People dish out 1000′s for vertu dimaond encrusted phones and we know how quickly they date. But if you go to dubai they fly off the shelves.

    • PMZanetti says:

      That makes no sense at all. No imaginable scenario could see this price difference center around FUNCTION.

      If there is any truth to the story at all, its because of the premium build construction being used on certain models. Gold, Platinum, etc. would drive the price of an otherwise leather/aluminum product into the thousands, without blinking an eye. Undoubtedly, this is what the rumor refers to.

      Timeless? Pinnacle of perfection? I don’t know about that. They are what they are. Some people love them. Yes, lots of people “collect” them. But if the collectors’ market is what still sustains those brands, then Apple is in luck, as this will be a new premium watch that collectors don’t already have.

    • From what we know about the iWatch until now, Apple couldn’t sell These things for 300$, if this is really just an iPhone accessory AND it is 99% health product it’s not gonna be bought, because people don’t buy half an iPhone only for one factor.

  6. If they do sell an iwatch for thousands, logic donates that they will also sell a low end product too.

  7. In my opinion, I don’t think Apple would make such a move. If My understanding about Apple and its products is right, I see Apple making the device more than an accessory. It would be a standalone product. However it would work flawlessly with other apple products like the iPhone or iPod Touch.

  8. Low end iWatch -Apple made, does what u expect
    High end iWatch – Apple teamed-up with a luxury watch maker

  9. never! A smartwatch and jewellery are contradictions.
    Of course there have been mobiles for rich people (vertu) but Apple wouldn’t go into a niche.

  10. Of course Apple can! Everything they do is several times more expensive than competitive products. They get at least 30% of the money from each product sold.
    Today most watches are symbols of status. There are cheap and expensive ones. Little girls want FlikFlak watches with Hello Kitty.
    Then there are those which are real masterpieces, Piaget, Blancpain, Mont Blanc, Breitling…I won’t speak of those brands you mentioned above. they are expensive but most are really ugly. I do own several Victorinox watches, going from several hundreds to 3 thousand Euros.

    Still they do just show the time, the mechanical ones aren’t as accurate as the digital versions, but they are robust and hand crafted.

    I hope Apple will do a smart watch à la design shown above by Gabor Balogh. It remembers me the Victorinox AirBoss Mechanical Limited Edition (http://www.victorinox.com/ch/product/Uhren/Kategorie/Kollektionen/AirBoss/AirBoss-Mechanical-Limited-Edition/241600;jsessionid=6307721F2ACEE98340AD48DD5E98F4E4)

    Apple could even sell Water for several Euros the bottle:

    http://scoopertino.com/apple-blasts-into-supermarkets-with-revolutionary-apple-water/

    http://scoopertino.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/apple_water_page.jpg

  11. Jes Jakobsen says:

    I don’t believe it as a high price tag on high end watches is justified by being an object which will last for generations. A smart watch will essential be worthless in a couple of years as you would want to upgrade to the newest.

  12. They could work with 3rd party retailers, and have interchangeable bodies. Or they 3rd parties could mod the watches like they do now with other Apple products.

  13. amitvedant says:

    If it’s a niche product line(I presume it will be) then it might sell well to it’s targeted consumers.

  14. Just a thought: What if Apple doesn’t actually want to sell “a” watch, but a watch concept – similar to “Carplay”? Several thousand dollars for a smartwatch from any tech company seems unthinkable, but how about a Rolex or Tag Heuer watch that connects to your iPhone? Then “several thousand dollars” wouldn’t be ridiculous at all.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Would certainly be a very interesting approach. At this stage, I’d say we’re as certain as we can be that Apple is making its own watch, but the two approaches are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

    • I think this is the only “watch” that makes any kind of sense at all, but I still don’t think Apple is making a watch. Watches are passe and have been for a while.

      I remember in the late 1970′s for instance, there was a big wave of “pocket watch” adoption, because … digital watches had come out and were now so cheap that they were being put into pens, rolodexes, phones, and anything else that had some spare space. Even then, “watches” were considered to be outdated, so the style was to carry around an old-timey pocket watch because it was “ironic.” it soon flipped back the other way a bit, but by the beginning of the 90′s when every single cell phone had a clock in it, people stopped wearing wristwatches in droves. Especially … women.

      Take a look around the average office today and you will notice that hardly any women wear watches on their wrists and about half or more than half of the men don’t either. In 1974 however, every single woman and every single man would be wearing one.

  15. PMZanetti says:

    I could see that if they made a version that was solid gold. An actual piece of jewelry and not just technology.

    There are some very expensive gold watches out there, and none of them are as functional as what Apple is planning to make.

  16. Apple has long stated that it operates at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, posing it’s products as tools that we can use to make our lives better, easier, and more enjoyable. Apple wants to include as many consumers as possible, while also using quality materials and processes that contribute to the sense that Apple only makes “insanely great products”. Pricing an iWatch at anything over $500 would severely limit their market reach and the ability to impact the average middle class consumer, their target market. So no… There will not be a $2,000 iWatch. End of Story.

  17. iwritethewrong says:

    Is it a stretch to think that the more expensive of the devices is for really heavy medical purposes and that the cheaper one is what Apple sells to the “normal” population?

  18. Sergey Bort says:

    Its not crazy to assume that it will be anywhere between $149 – $299… I mean, buying a somewhat nice watch like a Citizen or Swiss Army or Seiko can cost anywhere between $150 – $2000, and people buy those without thinking twice.

  19. I think he, (and everyone else) is wrong about Apple making a “smartwatch” at all. If they do what they usually do, they will probably be making just a really good fitness bracelet, (with integrated) Siri instead. it will be priced competitively.

    If anyone *could* sell a “several thousand dollar”smartwatch it might be Apple, but the market for those kind of watches is so horribly, terribly, tiny and small that they would be pretty foolish to do so.

    The thing that the watchmakers won’t tell you is that the high end luxury watches Apple would purportedly be emulating, are actually hugely overpriced relative to the materials and workmanship that goes into them. The margins are immense. Much bigger than Apple’s “healthy” margin on computers which is itself double or triple what anyone else is making.

    The margin for luxury watches has to be this way because the market is so freaking small. Rolexes for example are in many ways no better than any other watch and cost only a bit more to produce. They sell for thousands, even tens of thousands though.

    Overall, this is not the kind of market that Apple plays in despite being seen as a “luxury brand.” Apple’s products are mostly seen as luxury items only because they are playing in the computer market wherein all other entries are basically doing the “bargain basement” thing. Apple is not like the other companies that play in the luxury market for the most part. They don’t just add triple and quadruple margins to their products simply because they have a big brand.

    • I’m not sure if it’s going to be a watch or a fitness bracelet, but they have been hiring a lot of experts in the fashion industry. So whatever it is, it’s going to be a lot more than just a piece of plastic like a Fitbit or Jawbone Up. Also remember that Tim Cook is on the board of directors at Nike, which means it’s very unlikely they’ll make a direct competitor to the Nike Fuel Band.

      So based on that, I’ll say we’re most likely looking at a smartwatch rather than a fitness bracelet.

  20. No way! There’s a huge difference between a traditional watch and a smartwatch. A smartwatch has a limited lifespam cause hardware is getting out of date very quickly. When you spend several thousands of dollars on a watch you expect it to hold for life, not just for 3-4 years.

  21. theredone911 says:

    Think of it this way, the expensive iWatch will be bought by millionaires and celebrities, this will cause ordinary empty minded people to also want one, they cant afford the $7000 one, but Apple will release a regular iWatch that will cost about $299-$399, its kind of the same logic behind Beats by Dre, give away headphones to celebrities when people see them wearing Beats by Dre they will also want to buy them, even though any audiophile wouldn’t touch those overpriced monstrosities. (No pun intended)

  22. Ben, Kuo also stated the Ipad would be priced at $999. Kuop is reliable source for timeframes of release but not prices and specs. my 2 pence

  23. I disagree the iWatch will be fashion-based and resembe a traditional watch. That seems to contradict the emphasis they seem to be placing on health and fitness (M7 chip / healthbook etc). In my opinion, the final form of the iWatch will resemble more the current health/fitness focused “bands” that are already in the marketplace. It needs to be comfortable for running/biking, even sleeping.

  24. rgbfoundry says:

    Apple won’t sell models for $1000 (or even $500), but I’m sure some company is going to gold plate them and sell them to Saudi princes. Actually, can’t they just afford to have people follow them around, telling them what their smartphone is saying?

  25. Mark Kaiser says:

    I think the difference here is multi-thousand dollar watches today are meant to last 20 years. Who expects an iWatch to last more than three or four years before it is out of date…or at least the new models are so much better you don’t want your old one? We apple users like things shiny and new.

  26. Brian Victor says:

    Here are a few things we can reasonably assume about the iWatch: if it is going to be sold, it will offer something special that the competition doesn’t have and it will be priced so that the sort of people who buy iPhones will be able to afford it.

  27. Also, at 7 large, that puppy better tap dance AND make my dinner AND
    apply therapeutic back massage all at the same time.

  28. I don’t think Apple would(or should) sell a watch for several thousand dollars. Yes luxury brands such as Rolex and TagHeuer can and are selling watches for even more than $5000 but when you buy them they’re usually products that will be used for a lifetime or maybe even from generation to generation.

    However an iWatch, the first ever generation of it, will become obsolete in at most 3 years, and that is optimistic, let’s all remember that the original iPhone went obsolete in less then 2 years. Don’t care how great looking or luxurious it is a several thousand dollar iWatch just wouldn’t be successful, sure a few rich would buy it but it wouldn’t change the world. Unless they make a mainstream plastic version and a titanium luxurious version. I hope they don’t though.

  29. Jamie Wilson says:

    Apple would be completely mad to try and release a watch at this price. You buy a Swiss watch at these prices because they are a watch for life. You service your watch every 3-4 years and the manufacturer polishes out scratches, replaces worn parts then calibrates and certifies its keeping perfect time. It comes back looking like new. They also hold their value better than pretty much any other consumer product so if you do want to sell it you’ll get a good trade in price. Thats not going to happen with an iWatch when you want the newer, better, faster, thinner one thats just come out.

    Most people don’t buy a Rolex or Breitlng to actually tell the time anymore, they’re a status symbol, you flash it in a business meeting or on a date to subtly say “I’ve done alright for myself”. In the world of high end watches its all about history and prestige, something that an Apple branded watch would not be able to manage for many many years down the line, probably never.

    If they’re going to sell one for a few hundred dollars that your average Apple fan would be able to afford then its a safe bet that a high end one will have the same internals, and its just the case, face and strap thats uprated and warrants the higher price. The only thing they could make it from is possibly titanium or magnesium that commands that sort of money. Or perhaps they’ll finally use that patent they have for Liquid Metal. Omega already use Liquid Metal in one of their watches though.

    My final point is the high end model would need to be fully waterproof if it wants to mix it with the big boys, who’s going to fork out thousands for something that could be damaged beyond repair if they forget to take it off whilst they’re in the shower or get thrown in a swimming pool by their kids. Surely it will need some sort of data and charging port, how’s that going to be kept waterproof to 100m? That Sony Experia only guarantees down to something like 1m. Maybe data will be purely wireless and charging will be conductive like electric toothbrushes. My point is, if a Swiss watch breaks, its can be repaired because it’s mechanical, if something was to break on an iWatch outside Apples very short warranty then its probably going in the bin.

    I’m sure I’ll be queuing up to buy an iWatch if one is ever released, I like the idea of tracking my vitals but I won’t be paying more than $500.

  30. Dave Huntley says:

    Given that many of the latest hires are from fashion houses it wouldn’t suprise me if ios on the watch is licensed out like ios on the car – so all those fancy names can build their own. Apple likes hardware and maybe they will have a mid market one of their own, but the hires from fashion houses lately definately indicate something is going on.
    That said the Samsung watch is already less than half price in many places, it wasn’t exactly cute, but maybe watches are of limited appeal.

  31. Functionality would be the same, materialwise could boost the price by far. Apple is known to give every user everything in its operating system. The only limitations it has is hardware.

    Could they sell expensive, high end watches. Hell yeah. Look at the lady from Burberry, she knows their is a market for fashion. Apple’s sleek design watch made for both is not out of the question. Gold, platinum, silver, diamonds why not.

    Would a CEO ditch his $100,000+ Omega watch for a “cheap” iWatch? I don’t think so. Although if they make limited edition high end, high quality watch, he would be more than likely to.

  32. Steve Ballen says:

    Everybody jumps to conclusions. Consider this: anything we’ve seen so far has almost no chance of looking like the real thing. If random isolated designers creating renderings from their dreams could guess what new products were actually going to look like, Apple wouldn’t need a design department, and they wouldn’t succeed to the level they do.

    I believe the claim regarding the potential price was stated something like, “with the highest-end models going for several thousands of dollars.”

    Consider that, perhaps, they have the product/marketing wisdom to allow for that scenario without it being the entry point for the product. What if the device came in multiple casings of different materials? A stainless steel one could start at, say $300, while a platinum one started at $1500–maybe even with several midpoints. Then, what if there were about half a dozen different bands of different materials to pair those faces with? Again, perhaps a rubber one comes with the watch at even the lowest price points, keeping the product available at a couple hundred bucks. But then, to appeal to people who would have to decide to leave their Rolexes and IWCs at home in favor of this device, offered a selection of platinum link bands, the most expensive of all were priced, again, above $1000?

    Then consider that the product is rumored to come in two sizes. Perhaps the larger costs 20%-50% more than the smaller at every price point. They could make this device accessible to millions at just a couple hundred dollars for entry level models, and ratchet prices aaaallllll the way up into Rolexland with sizes, materials, and band choices.

    Up until now I couldn’t fathom how they were going to convince luxury watch owners to forego them in favor of a ubiquitous device that, despite the technology, would otherwise arguably oppose the logic behind every other purchase decision they had ever made in the watch category (exclusivity, luxury, valuable materials, status symbol, etc.). This is the first plausible suggestion I’ve heard so far, and it’s definitely a way to cross that unquestionably critical bridge.

  33. Branded watches like rolex appreciate in value. Apple’s watches can never appreciate because the watch is tech-based. Hence it’s not right to say there’s a ready market out there that Apple can tap on

    • PMZanetti says:

      Unless the physical material (such as gold) goes up in value, then No they do not appreciate in value. Not in any literal sense anyway. They appreciate the same way any collector’s item does…..its only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it on any given day.

  34. At the $200 or under price-point, Apple will sell a gazillion iWatches, even if all it did was tell time, display message alters and pulse rate/pedometer data, as long as it looks cool. At the $300-400 price-point Apple will have no problem selling another gazillion iWatches that provided more complex Heathbook data and connectivity. Focus on reality, people. The only possible glitch in this scenario is: can you get teenagers to wear a watch? If it is cool enough, it WILL be the “next big thing”. Geez, look at the response to this article!

    • PMZanetti says:

      You’re on to something. Watch wearing has fallen way out of the common. So much so that Apple has a chance to reinvent the category and start a NEW trend.

  35. If Apple makes a watch, it will need to replace the watches people wear today. How many people would actually wear TWO watches on the same wrist? the iWatch may be a sophisticated health-monitor, but it will also need to be a piece of jewelry. There’s nothing startling about the notion that Apple would offer the product in a range of finishes and wrist-bands. If you start with the range of what people spend today for watches (them as still wear ‘em, that is), it’s pretty easy to imagine that Apple would want to appeal to various buyers at various price points.

  36. PMZanetti says:

    They will unveil the iWatch and introduce it with plastic and leather bands at reasonable price tiers.

    Then, they will show “1 more thing” which is some Jon Ive masterpiece made of solid gold or platinum or both, that retails for much, much more. It will be elite of elite pieces…watch collectors will drool, the general public with laugh, and few will buy them (though all will want them). Most people will buy the plastic/leather banded models.

    But it would not surprise me in the least to see Apple produce a “jewelry version”.

    • Right. Note the iPhone 5s/5c. Which was the most in-demand? The higher priced GOLD version. Their smart move is three models: basic at under $200, standard at $275-300, and “deluxe ” version with the styling that fashion conscious users would want at a premium price. Think about holiday/birthday gift giving. I know I’ll be participating there!

  37. I agree with most people here that yes they could make two price points, but the lower one has to be only several hundred dollars. Otherwise it wouldn’t hit mainstream and be competitive with the other smart watches that are out. Only time will tell, but it’d seem crazy not to have a lower price point.

  38. Pardon the pun, but I think Apple missed a golden opportunity to make an extra $200 profit on the Gold iPhone 5S. They should have offered it in a 128GB model only, thus forcing everyone who wanted a gold iPhone to pay up for more storage than they needed. Then you could “show off” that you can afford an expensive phone, kinda like the “I Am Rich” app. By making it available in a 16GB model, Apple reduced the exclusive/ luxury feel of the gold iPhone.

    One thing that separates the 1% from you & me is they can afford better houses, cars & jewelry. Yet you can’t differentiate a higher end iPhone 5S from an entry level model.

    If the gold iPhone 5S is anything to go by, then it doesn’t look like Apple has plans to sell watches with such a wide disparity in price- at least not based on material. They had an opportunity to do so on the gold iPhone 5S but didn’t take it.

    So if it’s not a materials difference, what else could justify such a wide price range? Maybe capabilities- the higher end model could come with extra sensors? More storage? Maybe bundled with an iPhone since it would require an iOS device to function fully? Maybe more quantity- they could sell it in a 5-pack that includes every color so you can match to your clothes :-/

    With that last possibility, one could easily see a $500 iWatch became a $2500 retail item…

    • Steve Ballen says:

      You’ve got an interesting take on the “gold” iPhone 5S, and the opportunity that might’ve come with taking that approach. However be aware that it’s not actually made of gold. It’s just a color. That doesn’t preclude it from being treated exclusively as in your suggestion, but it’s no indicator of any future differentiation that could occur based on actual materials.

      The watch product is going to be the least-tech focused product to date. Note, that doesn’t mean least technologically advanced. That means it won’t be the focal point of marketing. Sure its abilities will amaze and be reported on, but Apple’s goal with this product will be to let the tech take a backseat to the lifestyle implications of wearing and using it. That means fashion first. It’ll be a beautiful personal adornment that people want to wear for its shear aesthetics, that just happens to change your life while you wear it.

  39. b9bot says:

    I don’t think Apple would make such a device if it would cost as much as the new Mac Pro. I don’t think its practical and sales would be dismal if the price were to high. Thousands of dollars is to high, a thousand dollars is to high, anything above $600 dollars is to high. It has to be affordable to many, not just to a few.
    If it is it will sell out like crazy. If this guy is right the iWatch will fail because of price, not features.

  40. Watches are bought once and kept for years. The iWatch is expected to be a product with a replacement cycle of about 2 years. Apple would never sell their watch for more than $500.

  41. sardonick says:

    Sure they could sell a watch for thousands of dollars. There’s a sucker born every day.

  42. ttss6 says:

    Here’s how I see Apple doing an iWatch:
    It will have a unibody circular design with the same edge curves as the iPad Airs and just a power button and lightning port. I can’t see them adding a FaceTime camera since it wouldn’t realistic to keep your arm up for extended periods of time. It could on the other hand alert you that you have a FaceTime call from say Steve and by pushing accept on it, the FaceTime app on your other iDevice will automatically open be ready to go. The different clock faces from the 6th gen Nanos will probably come back or at least the different design options. The obvious main selling point would be its health features like pedometer and pulse reader. Tap and hold to bring up Siri with touch volume controls. Instead of a watch like today that has straps built onto it, the watch would slip in to different wrist straps made with either leather or polyurethane with different colors (sound familiar?) It would fit in like how the iPads fit into the smart cases. Probably $199 for base model with silver, gold, or space gray options, which would look great for a wearable. Going back to the 6th gen iPod nano, it will probably have the same UI as the latest update with one app visible at a time on the home screen and flick to scroll between them. The main change obviously would be redesigning it to iOS 7/8 standards.

  43. Platinum? Sounds cool but it’s an extremely weak material.

  44. aromedia says:

    The question is “Why would an iWatch cost more than an iMac, for instance? Dummy report.

  45. I don’t see why spending $1000+ for an iWatch would be so shocking. Google’s Glass program costs $1500 dollars as it is…that being said I hope that Apple makes an affordable option with all of the same features and specs (minus premium metals etc). Even a slightly “dumber” smart-watch for an affordable price and a top-of-the-line model for those who can afford them/want them.

  46. watches are more about style than phones. why not allow watchmakers to build on top of a basic iWatch shell – like a watch ‘app’ market – and then let the price rise from a base (apple design) cost of $300-500, then the sky’s the limit for luxury designs? allow a few watch companies to build on it at first, then more later..

  47. Paul Kerr says:

    An iWatch costing several thousands of dollars need not be a part of the normal product line. There could be some special editions for charities with, say, a signature from Jony Ive or a celebrity. Apple recently highlighted that they’ve raised over $70m for Product(RED), and there could be a special iWatch for that campaign.

  48. There isn’t a watch in the world worth $1000′s I don’t care who makes it.
    Apple could easily sell them at $399/$499 if this vaporware ever comes to life.

  49. If the question is interesting, I have some serious doubt about Apple selling “several thousands dollars” watches. Of course, we don’t know how the iWatch will looks like, and maybe it will just looks like a real watch. But the “i” means also that it will contain a good amount of electronic, which will be depreciated after 2-3 years only.

    When you make a comparaison with some brands as Rolex, Jaeger, Cartier, TAG Heuer, Breitling or Omega, you forgot that they are all fully mechanical timeless pieces. Which means that you can use them all your life, and even go through many generations. And I really don’t feel this can happen with electronics. What will you do if you get in heritage an iPhone first generation?

    Of course, they will always be some super rich people which will not mind to spend $3-4000 every year in order to update their iWatch, but I don’t see that as Apple business.

    And don’t forgot, mechanical watches are expensive not only because of their brands, but also because of the real human arduous hand work that is needed to build them.

    This said, I’m for sure very curious to see what Apple will bring to our hand wrist.

  50. My friend who works for Nieman Marcus said I was crazy for thinking the very same thing, but maybe not so crazy. I will go on to say those fashion hires suggest to me more than one “fashion wearable”. What phone does Nieman provide for its sales consultants? Exactly!

    Now I’m not suggesting the price is at all right, but if Apple, with all of those hires, comes out with a wrist brick I will be really disappointed. I just not so sure it will be just one item. Hey, if there is a runway set up at the next Apple Event, we’ll know what’s up…maybe Apple employees in tacky tuxedo Ts will ring the auditorium?

  51. This is just not going to happen.

    First, there is NO WAY they could get away with pricing over 700$. The only reason watches cost several thousands of dollars is they are sold and marketed as “investments that last a lifetime”. You buy one or two in a lifetime and thats it. When you are talking about computer hardware you can never sell it as “for a lifetime” as it will be obsolete in a couple of years best case scenario. Only very wealthy people would change their 3000$ watch every couple of years and that is NOT apple’s market. Apple is high end, but appeals to the masses. It is BMW, not Ferrari. Also, it would be completely contradictory with everything else they have been doing as they have been going for lower cost options across the board for some time now (iPhone 5C, iPad Mini, etc).

    So… NO WAY.

  52. I certainly agree that an iWatch is not a “timepiece” that will last for generations. It will be dated pretty quickly just like last years fashion, but maybe not that quickly.

  53. What a pile of crap.

    If I want a luxury watch, I will buy it from Patek Philippe or Breguet. If I want a smart watch, there is no way I will pay more that $700.

    • There is no reason why this watch/fitness band or whatever it is called should be more than $200. I’m beginning to think the people here talking about throwing over $300 at this thing are working for Apple. And for $700 it must be able to do something special, something fantastic never seen or created feature and should last for 10 years at least. I wrote this on a mid 2010 mac mini that cost less than $1000.

  54. Several thousands of Mexican pesos would not sound so outrageous.

  55. I don’t believe so but i think apple could be the first tech company to get the smart watch right, and make something desirable.
    At the minute i really don’t see why any one would buy one of the current offerings.