John Gruber is one of the most knowledgeable and well-respected Apple watchers in the industry. And in a new post on his Daring Fireball site, he gives some interesting new perspective on how Apple may price its latest device.
When the Apple Watch was originally introduced back in September, Apple only announced that pricing will start at $349. That price is assumed to be for the lower-end Sport edition.
Apple will also offer the mid-range Apple Watch and high-end Apple Watch Edition.
The Apple Watch Edition features an 18-karat rose or yellow gold case.
Gruber originally believed that the Edition, with an 18-karat gold case, could cost about $5,000. But he now believes the retail price could be substantially higher:
I can see which way the wind is blowing. For months I’ve been asking friends who might know — or know someone else who might know, or even know someone who knows someone who might know — whether my guess of $5,000 is too high for the Edition starting price. The answer has always been “No”. But the way I’ve been told “No” has given me the uneasy feeling that I’ve been asking the wrong question. I should have been asking if $5,000 is too low.
I now think Edition models will start around $10,000 — and, if my hunch is right about bands and bracelets, the upper range could go to $20,000.
Gruber also makes the case that the number of different watch bands will affect the pricing of the Apple Watch model:
So I’m thinking the regular Apple Watch will come in at least five pricing tiers:
1. Entry: Sport Band, black or white.
2. Regular leather: Classic Buckle, you’ll get it in black and you’ll like it.
3. Milanese Loop.
4. Deluxe leather: Modern Buckle for 38mm models, Leather Loop for 42mm models. Each with a choice of three colors.
5. Link Bracelet.
Definitely take a look at the entire piece for more interesting tidbits about the pricing structure. While I think Gruber makes some very strong points, I know many others believe the Edition model will be more reasonably priced in the $2,000-$3,000 range.
But either way, Apple is heading in a new direction with the wearable by taking a big step into the fashion and high-end watch market.
Late last month, Apple CEO Time Cook confirmed that the Apple Watch will arrive sometime in April.
On Monday, a new report said Apple has been inviting a select group of developers to its Cupertino, California headquarters. Apple engineers are providing help to finish up watch apps while the groups are also getting to try out the device in person.
A special media event that highlights more features about the watch is expected sometime before the product hits the market.
For other recent Apple Watch news, see: Developer Eastwood previews the ETA app for Apple Watch, The Apple Watch: What it won’t have and more on those crazy price points, and Can the Apple Watch help Apple become the top smartphone vendor in China?