Gruber posts initial thoughts and observations regarding Apple Watch

“Apple Watch is not a product from a tech company, and it will not be understood, at all, by the tech world,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball. “Apple creates and uses technology in incredible ways. The Apple Watch may prove to be the most technologically advanced product they’ve ever built. But again: Apple is not a tech company, and Apple Watch is not a tech product.”

“One thing that is absolutely clear, to me at least: when Tim Cook said the starting price is $349, that’s for the aluminum and glass Sport edition. My guesses for starting prices: Apple Watch Sport (aluminum/glass): $349 (not a guess); Apple Watch (stainless steel/sapphire): $999; Apple Watch Edition (18-karat gold/sapphire): $4,999,” Gruber writes. “The Apple Watch Edition is solid 18-karat gold, not gold-plated. I confirmed this with Apple last week. You can feel it when you try one on: the stainless steel watch is noticeably heavier than the aluminum Sport one, and the gold Edition models are noticeably heavier than the stainless ones.”

“Apple is taking on the entire hundred-dollar-and-up watch industry at once, with a range of models and prices that span the gamut from $349 to $10,000 or more. They never even mentioned the word ‘smartwatch’ last week, just ‘watch,’ and never once even acknowledged any competition from the tech industry,” Gruber writes. “(Nor does the word ‘smartwatch’ appear anywhere on Apple’s website.) The only comparisons Apple is making are to the traditional watch industry, and their prices are going to reflect that, I believe.”

Tons more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Boy, we hope Apple Watch Edition starts at least at $4999! $9999 would be even better! The higher then number, the greater the shitstorm from those who just do not get it.

Related articles:
Can Apple disrupt the luxury watch industry with a $10,000 Apple Watch? – September 17, 2014
Jean-Claude Biver: ‘The Apple Watch cannot compete at all with European watches’ – September 15, 2014
What the Apple Watch says about Apple – September 15, 2014
Tim Cook of Apple Watch battery life: ‘You’ll want to charge them every night’ – September 12, 2014
Old school watch makers don’t get Apple Watch – September 12, 2014
Apple Watch, the world’s first real smartwatch, will be a massive hit – September 9, 2014
Apple iWatch designer Jony Ive: Switzerland is in deep shit – September 4, 2014


  1. My concern with the Apple Watch is how long the hardware within will remain relevant. When I purchase a Rolex, I know that it’s something that will last me a lifetime and it’s something that will remain useful for decades to come. With the Apple Watch, I don’t have this assurance. Look at older iPhones, from the original to the 3G. Sure, they still work but, given a choice, few would want to. If this is what happens to the Apple Watch, I would have difficulty justifying spending thousands of dollars on one. $350, maybe, but probably not much more.

    1. Your concern is valid. You must remember, however, that the price basic of a Rolex is 15 to 20 times the price of a basic Apple Watch. So, invest the amount that a Rolex would cost you and you can get a new Apple Watch every year or so with the income from your investment.

    2. Gruber says it in his article, and I’ve been thinking this since it was unveiled… I think the internals will be swappable. If nothing else, they’ll retain the value of the metal for a trade in. I’m personally looking forward to spending my life savings on the platinum  Watch II.

    3. What does your Rolex do other than time and date? Even after the technology in the Apple Watch is obsolete it will still do at least that, and at a lot lower cost. I’m not saying the Apple Watch will hold it’s value the same as a vintage Rolex, but it isn’t really expected to.

        1. None, of course. You know though, I’ve been wearing the same Seiko Automatic since 1978, so you don’t have to buy a Rolex to get dependability and long life in a watch. Plus, I don’t have to worry about getting my butt stomped and rolled for it. 😉

    1. I was expecting stainless to be $649-$699. More than that, and they are pricing themselves out of sales. As various people have correctly stated: this is not an heirloom piece that will last decades; it is only good until the next, better model comes out in two years.

    1. Yes, Gruber speculates (emphasis mine):

      …perhaps the internals of the watch will be upgradeable. Apple is calling the S1 chip a “computer on a chip”, not a “system on a chip”. Take it in for servicing, and for a few hundred dollars, perhaps you’ll be able to replace your S1 for an S2 in a year, and an S3 the year after that.

      1. I’ve been thinking the same thing. It’s not possible that this issue was not examined at Apple during the design of the watch. I think that it is pretty obvious that there is a huge untold story here. When Apple is finally ready to go to market, they will have another event that fleshes out the use cases for the device and answers all these questions.

  2. I am duly impressed by the technology on display here, and I’m positive they are holding some great tech surprises under wraps until January. So it’s incredible. Agreed.

    That said, surely it would be half the size if they could make it that way. And surely within 2, or 4, or 8 years they will make it that way.

    No current watch is designed under such constraints. Essentially a (real) watch can be nearly as thin as any designer could want it to be. Thus, today’s (real) watches are designed purely for aesthetics. Chunky is chunky because the designer wants it chunky, because that slant on chunk “means something.” It is art first, then embodied in form.

    The Watch is thick… because it has to be. Because this is as small as they can make it and get all that stuff inside. Therefore, it is a compromise. It’s full of compromises. It’s a best-shot at something that they’d really prefer to make MUCH different, but at this point in time and tech just can’t.

    And that’s why it’s mediocre at best on the style front. They’ve done their best, which is admittedly amazing. But it’s still obviously a mediocre style product, even as it is truly revolutionary as a demonstration of the state of the art of consumer electronics.

    When people buy this it’ll be for the amazing tech kit. For the sensors. For the quantified self it allows. For the convenience of seeing who’s calling without fishing the damn phone with a case out of my pocket while I sit in my car with a seatbelt on. But not for the style. The style will be barely passable.

    Which makes a $4999 purchase of a watch that’ll look like a box of Captain Crunch on your watch within 3 years kind of ridiculous. I wouldn’t spend more than $349 on it, and really I’d prefer a totally plastic one (unapologetically plastic) for $229.

    This is going to be really interesting.

  3. I wonder about the purchase experience of the high end jewelry Apple Watch customers. Will Apple Stores have an Apple Watch alcove? Will the Watch be sold at jewelry stores? What will the purchase experience be like after Angela’s touch? I hope someone uploads photos of the display area from the Apple Store in UAE. I’d go myself, but the fashion police wouldn’t allow entry.

    1. Someone said that with Burberry she helped debut a mirror-tech that allowed people to look at themselves in a mirror and see not just their reflection, but also their reflection with certain Burberry accouterments. Could be a cool Apple tech dovetail for the watch.

      1. I forgot about that! That would be Apple magic. Wow, I’d like to see a thinner, flatter me. Can they throw up (hahaha) a reflection of Balmer with a solid gold Watch, a gold iPad (late 2014), and a gold iPhone 6+ … in a Clippers jacket? Ah, well — good taste and good sense prevents so much — another of a thousand “NO’s”.

  4. First off, it’s most likely gold plate.

    Second, if it’s more than $2000, it’s got to have gems on it.

    I bet the Gold editions come in at around $800 max.

    Stainless comes in around $500

    and of course the smaller aluminum starts at $349.

        1. The definition of “solid gold” is correct. It’s a well-established, well-understood definition. It doesn’t imply purity, it just means the object is not gold plated (ie wearing a thin layer of gold outside the base metal of the object)–it means the object is made entirely with the gold or gold alloy used.

          The definition of 18-Karat gold is also well defined and understood. It is an international standard. It means the gold alloy is 18 parts gold to 6 parts of another metal or metal mixture, therefore, 75% gold. In the case of most jewelry, especially a watch case or chain, this is done for strength, as 24-Karat gold is too soft for these applications without risking a lot of deformation an breaks.

  5. Just read the full article, it is great. I love his shit storm comments. If I can afford it, I will have the Apple watch at some time.(iPhone 6 first) I personally like the look of the watch, and I bet in person it doesn’t seem chunky at all. I’m no seer or analyst, but I can’t wait till next Labor Day to see how this “watch” has done. I hope it is past all imagination. $5000 and up, you go Apple.

  6. I love apple gear, but i find it highly unlikely the upper end watch will go for $4000 +. There will not be much of a market at that price. High end watches are expensive jewelry. They can and should be registered not only for resale value and insurance purposes, but to prove the ownership and authenticity. I highly doubt anybody will do that with an apple watch. I could be wrong.

  7. My only beef with the pricing is the Watch’s susceptibility to the environment – particularly water and humidity. Anything I want to wear regularly should be sufficiently sturdy to at least shower and bathe with, and survive steam (sauna, sitting around a hot tub, sweat, steamy and muggy weather). Frankly, the industry standard for most decent watches is now at least 100 feet depth. And if it has those capabilities, price wouldn’t matter to me. Without them, I’m hard-pressed to want to take the risk.

    1. And along those same lines, I’m disappointed that the iPhone 6 and 6 plus lack water-resistance – it’s well-represented in the competition, and moisture is a common cause of device failure.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.