The prices grate. And they grate not because they’re so expensive, but because they’re gratuitously expensive. The Apple Watch Sport (which starts at $350) and the high-end Apple Watch Edition have the same innards. Their internal computer is the same; they will have the same effect on a user’s life. The only difference is that Apple is manufacturing a status symbol with the Edition. Instead of telling users to pay up because they’ll get a better quality experience, it’s telling them to pay up because they can, and because a more expensive watch is inherently preferable.
To many commentators, this is unsurprising. It’s good business sense, really. Apple has made its world-devouring profits by ratcheting up profit margins on iPhones. There is no better target for these massive margins than the super-rich.
The Atlantic: With Its $10,000 Watch, Apple Has Lost Its Soul
I view Apple’s $10k watch through the same lens as when I saw a 100-disc CD changer back in 199-whatever: it’s something bored, rich idiots purchase to impress other bored, rich idiots. If you have to even look at the price, you aren’t the target demographic for a $10k watch.
I’ve seen posited that Apple is using the $10k watch to anchor the justification of the $350 watch, but I don’t think that’s entirely it. Apple is genuine in their pricing because there is an entire luxury watch market that is completely out of reach for the majority of people in the world, but Rolex makes a tidy profit on the 600k watches it sells per year. I think where the idiocy comes in is that the guts of the $10k watch is exactly the same as the $350 watch, and those guts will be completely obsolete in two years. The purchaser does not get any nifty, new, complicated schemes with their $10k watch vs the $350 like they would with a Rolex, and those schemes will last a lot longer than two years. The scheme will simply just work. (See what I did there?) The $10k watch is simply “new packaging, same great taste.” But, then, the people who have $10k to throw at a new watch really don’t care. Thus, bored, rich idiots.
All of this makes sense to those that sees watches as a status symbol, which is true for a significant number of people, even those who can’t afford even low-end Rolexes. But if you, like me, view them more as functional devices—when I travel or have an occasion where a watch would help, I wear the same model Casio digital watch I wore in high school; good in a pinch and easily replaceable should I lose it—then there is little to no appeal in even the $350 Apple watch, and we’re waiting to see what Apple has up its sleeve to appeal to us. How about fixing Yosemite’s waking from sleep problems? I’d pay good money for that.