While we saw a few awesome surprises (HBO Now and the new MacBook) at Apple’s Spring Forward event, much of it was a recap of things that we already knew about the Apple Watch. Except the price. Today Apple has revealed that the Apple Watch (the upper-midrange model with stainless steel casing and sapphire display) will cost between $549 – $1,049 for the 38mm smaller model and $599 – $1,099 for the larger 42mm version.
The Apple Watch is the version most akin to the iPhone 6 in terms of pricing, while the Apple Watch Sport will start at $349 for the smaller 38mm version and $399 for the 42mm model. It will function as the entry-level model, much like the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c.
This pricing is determined not only by the size of the watch but by the original band you choose, as Apple offers a wide variety of bands for each model.
Then there’s the Watch Edition, Apple’s high-end model equipped with a special reinforced 18k gold chassis, which will start at $10,000 in select retail stores and only be available in limited quantities. The Watch Edition will top out at $17,000.
Unlike some of Apple’s other product lines, the Apple Watch is entering the market at a number of different price points. In the past, Apple has introduced new product categories and then slowly broken them into different models that reach varying price points and fit different needs for the consumer. We started with a single iPhone, and now there are four available on the market at any given time. The same story played out with the iPad.
But the Apple Watch must enter the market with variation as it is a very different type of product.
As opposed to a phone or a tablet, where what’s inside matters most, the Apple Watch is invariably a fashion product just as much as it is a computing tool. While the iconic and uniform look of the watch face itself will act as a status symbol in its own right, no one wants to wear the exact same thing as everyone else. A watch is inherently an accessory, and accessories are made to set us apart.
But this is only a good thing for Apple, which has spent years developing this technology and poaching all the right talent to merge the worlds of technology and fashion in a way that is enticing to consumers. And with that patience comes a far-reaching product that offers the same breadth as Apple’s most popular product, the iPhone.
In fact, Apple has positioned itself to make even more money off of the diversity of this product. Due to the special band connector developed by Apple, swapping out a leather strap for a Sport strap or any one of Apple’s many color/material options should be a generally recurring activity, much like we treat iPhone cases.