Why not? $350 and a wide choice of bands isn’t too much money. Besides, I want to wait and see if Apple will actually put my most cherished feature into the more expensive Watch models. Feature? There’s a contradiction of expectations with technology and luxury watches that Apple must address.
What’s The Plan, Stan?
A $350 technology watch that needs to be upgraded to the latest and greatest every two to four years probably is priced about right. Let’s do the math on four years.
That’s less than $10 a month for a three to four year period, and certainly affordable assuming Apple Watch is as cool and classy as it looks and as functional as Apple promises.
What about Apple Watch Edition, the one with all that gold lathered on the case; the one with expensive watch bands; the one with a guard standing nearby, and a secure safe and case to keep them away from prying eyes and stick fingers?
Estimates for Watch Edition with the gold encrusted case range in price from $5,000 to $10,000 to $20,000, and if you’ve looked at a good 18 karat gold watch price tag, you know that all three are not out of line. Except maybe $5,000 is too low.
At $20,000 for Watch Edition, Apple would need to sell 57 of the $350 entry-level versions of Apple Watch for the same amount of revenue. Here’s the problem with the math. It doesn’t add up. A $20,000 Rolex is expected to last for a few generations, so let’s say 60 years with good care. That’s just over $330 a year, or $27 a month for six decades.
How long is the technology within Apple Watch expected to last and remain useful? A Mac can continue to run acceptable after five or six years, but usually gets replaced by that time. Apple’s iPad models seem to last five years (the school where my wife works as a teacher still has first version iPads in use; so lets go with four or five years). iPhones will last that long but usually get replaced every two to four years.
Who is going to replace a $20,000 Apple Watch every two to four years? Only the ultra rich who treat $20,000 or $10,000 or even a lowly $5,000 the same way that you and I would treat $350.
Here’s what Apple should do. Make Apple Watch hardware upgradeable. There shouldn’t be any difference between the internal technology of a $350 Apple Watch vs. Apple Edition with gold at $5,000 to $20,000, so how about a $350 upgrade of the Watch’s internal components? In other words, all new inside, same gold watch outside, rinse, repeat every x-number of years as needed.
Upgrading hardware is the way for Apple truly to think different. Think about it. Who upgrades hardware? Airplane manufacturers, but even airplanes have a graveyard. The automobile industry doesn’t bother upgrading cars, but Tesla upgrades software to the Model S all the time. Why not upgrade Apple Watch from the inside when new technology becomes available?
A timeless watch design with upgradeable hardware inside. This is an idea whose time has come.