Why is Apple making a gold watch? Think luxury markets. Apple is a lower end luxury company -- now they are entering the higher end with the outlandishly priced top tier Apple watch edition. See what Ben Evans of a16z says.
Apple ($APPL) will make its smartwatches available pre-order on April 10th and available April 24th.
The watch is unique to itself, but an apparent and analyzed market move. Critics need to look at the original critique of the iPad, which many considered an item that was not necessarily needed. The same is being said about the smartwatch. But then again a watch is an accessory and accessories are not needed by everyone and Apple is a consumer electronics company that makes products. Regardless, for the luxury part it could be a good fit assuming Apple is (better) positioning itself as a luxury product company.
A few okay-but-not-needed functions of the smartwatch:
- Using the watch as your hotel keycard
- Opening the garage (assuming it is connected to the internet)
- Turning on your thermostat?
Basically endless ideas follow Apple's gadget expect quality battery life. Not even Dick Tracy had that issue. Batteries top out at three hours, six hours, eight hours... dependent on use.
For the case of its entry-level Sport edition (starting price: $349), Apple said that its engineers custom-designed an alloy based on aluminum that is 60 percent stronger but just as light. The company started with pure, raw aluminum that was heated to a molten state and then added magnesium and zinc to form a more protective and stronger compound.
For its midrange Apple Watch (starting price: $549), the company started with a steel alloy known for strength and resistance to corrosion. Apple then put the metal through a cold-forging process to make it as much as 80 percent harder and less vulnerable to nicks and scratches. For the black stainless steel edition, Apple added a carbon layer to create a more durable and brighter appearance. And for the top-of-the-line Apple Watch Edition (starting price: $10,000), Apple started with 18-karat solid gold for the body and then used a custom alloy designed to be twice as hard as standard gold. After the body went through its manufacturing process, ultrasonic scanners were employed to detect flaws in the metal. In the end, each case was hand-polished by 'jewelry artisans.'
Not to be out done, competition has followed up to some degree.
Huawei is among the first firms to unveil smartwatch models that operate on Androids Wear platform. The latter by the way is full of smartphone watches, in fact it is like a smartphone competitor showcase explosion.See Link
Wired brought up a good question -- especially pertaining to markets and bottom lines -- what is the point of this product? It can't beat a smartphone or a watch.
Stocktwits @InsiderMonkey blasted: Surveys Showed 10 percent Of iPhoneUsers Interested In $AAPL's Smartwatch
From the BBC:
The big question: will Apple be able to reinvent the wristwatch industry in the way it has redefined others like computing and music?