Monday, March 9, 2015

Apple Watch: This Just Got a Little Ridiculous, But I Still Can't Help Myself

Did you watch Apple's announcement of all the juicy details surrounding the Apple Watch today? For the first time, I noticed that they actually provided their own real-time blog of the event. As my boss put it, every single one of these announcements is like a master class in PR.

Let's get one thing straight. If you can afford $17 grand for ^this watch here and are still using an iPhone 5, you need to re-examine your life priorities in so many different ways.
Having watched the presentation, I can safely say that my mind is blown. No, not because of the amazing amount of time dedicated to explaining the new "butterfly" mechanism on the next-gen Macbook keyboards. I meant mind blown in terms of what those fancy gold Apple Watch Editions cost. What. The. What.

$10,000.00 (<-- this is the way that Apple lists it, by the way. Ten thousand dollars, and no cents. Clearly, they're not here to nickel and dime you to death.)

And that's only a starting price. 10 grand will get you the smaller of the two watches, in gold, but with a rubber bracelet band. Yeah okay, that's going straight into your overpriced SimpleHuman trash can. Sure, you can always front the $450 for that stainless steel link bracelet, but no, you need some thing more exclusive. Something EDITION.

So you get an upgrade to match your rose gold together with a rose-colored leather band. And a couple grams more gold for that clasp. The damage? $17,000. (and 00 cents). That's a seven thousand dollar difference. We've gone from innovative product to class warfare during the course of today's presentation.

Giving Apple the benefit of the doubt, perhaps this is Apple's way of "taxing" the super rich. After all, materials aside, this is essentially the same product. The innards work in the exact same way, but the relative cost — $350 for the cheapest vs. $17,000 for the most expensive — is a multiple of nearly 50x! Believe it or not, that's actually a lot more flat than the average CEO-to-worker pay disparity among the S&P 500, at over 200x. But I'll save that for another chat on my Finance channel.

Media everywhere are now calling Apple Watch the most expensive product, ever. Nominally, yes. But once upon a time, Apple made computers. And extends back to when computers were rather expensive:

The Apple Lisa, 1984. (Image: Wikicommons)
The Apple Lisa computer, named after Steve Jobs' daughter, was initially sold for $9,995, which would peg it at $22,482 today according to the government's nifty CPI calculator. But here's a runner-up, and one that's actually from my lifetime:

The Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh
This masterpiece with trackpad, vertical-loading disc drive, BOSE sound system, and LCD panel (during the era of CRTs) was first sold in 1997 for a whopping $7,499. Adjusted for inflation, it's a tad under $11 grand today.

Alright. Clearly, none of this matters. You can be as cynical all you want, but ask yourself: do you really have any doubt that Apple will sell these things like hotcakes? Can you watch any of the three materials videos for aluminum, steel, and gold, and not come out thinking, "Hmm that's pretty neat". At that point, you remember that the entry-level Apple Watch is only $350.

Hmm indeed. Never say never.


  1. Yep, I want one too. I am going to cash in my Apple Share and pay another $16, 874 for it, easy.

  2. Dear, I don't think I would be able to afford that thing if I cashed in ALL of my Apple shares.

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