When the prices of the steel and (especially) gold Apple Watches are announced, I expect the tech press to have the biggest collective shit-fit in the history of Apple-versus-the-standard-tech-industry shit-fits. The utilitarian mindset that asks “Why would anyone waste money on a gold watch?” isn’t going to be able to come to grips with what Apple is doing here. They’re going to say that Jony Ive and Tim Cook have lost their minds. They’re going to wear out their keyboards typing “This never would have happened if Steve Jobs were alive.” They’re going to predict utter and humiliating failure…
And then people will line up around the block at Apple Stores around the world to buy them. I think Apple Watch prices are going to be shockingly high — gasp-inducingly, get-me-to-the-fainting-couch high — from the perspective of the tech industry. But at the same time, there is room for them to be disruptively low from the perspective of the traditional watch and jewelry world. There’s a massive pricing umbrella in the luxury watch world, and Apple is aiming to take advantage of it.
I read a comment the other day that the technology press is an oddly conservative group. I think so. It feels as if every time something new comes out it either gets slammed or exalted and then later positions quietly reverse. I’m thinking of when the iPhone came out and Apple was mocked; you don’t see so many technology sites mentioning their initial reports now. I’m also thinking of the fairly countless times a Microsoft or Samsung or Dell or generic Android device has been lauded and now you can’t even remember their name. And you didn’t buy them.
Gruber has a long piece examining the Apple Watch and in a small part about how it will be seen by this tech press. I think he’s actually quite down on the watch; for all his praise, he’s clear that he expects it to do more than Apple has announced so far or “Apple is in deep trouble”.
I like the watch more than he does. I like it a lot, I’m impressed, I’m buying.
But Apple’s always claimed to be at the intersection between technology and the arts, a spot and a phrase I rather like, where Gruber makes a case that it’s somewhere else. Somewhere more. The intersection of technology, arts, fashion and watches. With technology more in the background. I don’t know that I’m persuaded, I don’t know that it matters, but I think he’s right that it will be most visible in the pricing of the Apple Watch when it finally comes out.