Apple Watch Edition Buyers Getting Luxury, White-Glove Treatment - InformationWeek

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Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
3/30/2015
01:06 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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Apple Watch Edition Buyers Getting Luxury, White-Glove Treatment

People who have $10,000 to buy an Apple Watch Edition will be treated like royalty when they enter Apple Stores. With all the anticipation, IDC has upped its wearables estimate.

10 Apple Watch Apps: Which Ones Will You Use?
10 Apple Watch Apps: Which Ones Will You Use?
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Apple is going upscale in a way it never has before in order to sell its high-priced wearable. The Apple Watch goes on sale April 24, but you won't be able to simply walk into a store and buy one. Instead, Apple will require appointments for watch seekers.

Buying the gold-plated Watch Edition? Expect an hour-long, private sales experience.

It's clear Apple is taking its forthcoming smartwatch very seriously. The company has begun to prepare its retail stores for the device, and will include dedicated areas for people to try on the various sizes and wristband styles. Stock will probably be limited at launch, notes 9to5mac, and customers will need to schedule dedicated times to try the device on and buy it. This makes a certain degree of sense. With so many varieties from which to choose, consumers will want to be sure the model they pick is comfortable and attractive. Apple has long referred to the device as its most personal ever.

If you've got the cash to pay for the Apple Watch Edition, which ranges from $10,000 to $17,000, then you can expect a much more upscale experience from Apple.

Apple is telling employees the gold watch is "the ultimate expression of extraordinary craftsmanship, incredible innovation, and design driven by functionality and end use," and that it represents "technology becoming seductive, with desirability not necessarily defined simply by a price tag or elitism, but rather meticulous focus on usefulness and utility rooted in beauty."

What price would you put on luxury?

What price would you put on luxury?

In addition, "[m]ost Edition customers are interested in this collection for the intrinsic value that a gold watch offers along with the unique style choices available." In other words, Apple is going to treat people who walk in with wads of money like the upscale customers they are.

Apple Watch Edition buyers will be treated to private appointments with experts specially trained to work with high-end clientele, reports 9to5mac, citing sources familiar with Apple's plans. Given the high value of the wearable, customers will be allowed to have only two gold watches in hand at a time. Watch Edition purchases will have a special station with stools, and jewelry-store mats. Customers can have their watch set up by the in-store experts or through a new virtual personal setup option.

Apple will also provide Watch Edition buyers with dedicated 24/7 support for a period of two years.

The Watch Edition will reach the largest markets first. It will be an exclusive at Apple's most prominent stores in cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. It will trickle down to other markets gradually. Customers will, however, be able to order the Watch Edition online and have it brought by courier to the Apple Store of their choice.

If you're an average Joe, you can expect a less personal experience. Standard Apple employees will be on hand to help Sport and Stainless Steel buyers, and will generally assist as many customers at a time as is practical.

Apple's well-monied customers can thank Angela Ahrendts for their Apple Watch Edition purchasing experience, who's now in charge of Apple retail store operations. Before joining the company, Ahrendts worked at Burberry in London.

[ Read about the Apple Watch event. ]

It's safe to say the experience will be unique to Apple's wearable, at least at first. Makers of smartwatches running Google's Android Wear platform don't offer such luxuries. Motorola comes closest, perhaps, with its Moto Maker design experience, which lets people design their own smartwatch online.

Market analysis firm IDC expects wearables to explode in the coming years thanks to the hype surrounding the Apple Watch.

"Smart wearables are about to take a major step forward with the launch of the Apple Watch this year," Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Wearables team, wrote in a March 30 statement. "The Apple Watch raises the profile of wearables in general and there are many vendors and devices that are eager to share the spotlight. Basic wearables, meanwhile, will not disappear. In fact, we anticipate continued growth here as many segments of the market seek out simple, single-use wearable devices."

IDC predicts shipments of smart wearables will jump an astonishing 510.9% from 4.2 million in 2014 to 25.7 million in 2015.

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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
4/8/2015 | 6:53:17 AM
Re: It's not the same
Li Tan, and that what is so simple to understand is what so many people fail in understanding. -Susan
Li Tan
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50%
Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
4/6/2015 | 10:19:18 AM
Re: It's not the same
Exactly - the smartwatch is a smart device. It has the watch form but the major usage is not checking the time. I love its feature of interconnecting with iPhone so that you won't easily miss any call.
Susan Fourtané
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50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
4/6/2015 | 8:17:10 AM
It's not the same
glenbren, 

No. The Apple Watch and Timex are two different products. The Apple smartwatch is not just for telling the time. In fact, telling the time is not it's main feature. You can never compare a smartwatch with a regular watch. 

-Susan
tzubair
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50%
tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 3:26:22 PM
Re: Financing their failure
"Apple might still come out ahead. I seriously doubt apple can compete with the watch designers for the ultra rich, especially for a device that is a tiny version of the phone you likely have in your pocket at the time."

@kstarton: I think that's where you're not getting Apple's strategy. Apple is not aiming to bring watch consumers to buy Apple watches and make them switch from their other expensive brands. It's making the iPhone and iPad users have an additional Apple device with them (in the form of a watch).
tzubair
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50%
tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 3:17:57 PM
Re: Isolating millions of loyal but not so rich fans
"Will those young Apple fanboys grow up and forsake their Apple watches for a Rolex? or have both? We shall see..."

@jastroff: I still think that the target market for both brands is very separate and that there's no overlap between them. Even when the Apple fans grow up, they'd probably switch to a cooler brand that's more in fashion rather than a sophisticated classy brand like Rolex.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 2:19:54 PM
Financing their failure
Well, I suppose when the Apple Watch crashes and burns if a few people with more money than sense buy it, Apple might still come out ahead. I seriously doubt apple can compete with the watch designers for the ultra rich, especially for a device that is a tiny version of the phone you likely have in your pocket at the time. I'm looking for a new watch but there is no way Apple makes the cut, at any price.
glenbren
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glenbren,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 11:42:25 AM
Re: Isolating millions of loyal but not so rich fans
It's a nice looking watch, and if I had 10K burning a hole in my pocket, I'd probably choose an Apple over a Rolex. I just can't fathom why anyone would want to spend that much money on any kind of watch. What exactly makes it worth so much? Doesn't Timex tell the same time?
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 9:54:10 AM
Re: Isolating millions of loyal but not so rich fans
>> : I really don't think Apple would like to compete with Rolex over the watches. I think they belong to a completely different league and the target audience is much different. Apple is targeting towards young, rich Apply fanboys while Rolex is meant for the more mature and wealthy individuals.

 

Will those young Apple fanboys grow up and forsake their Apple watches for a Rolex? or have both? We shall see...
tzubair
50%
50%
tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 5:07:40 AM
Re: Isolating millions of loyal but not so rich fans
"But wont that isolate millions of loyal Apple fans who cant dish out 1000+ dollars and end up getting a less than desired experience. Afterall Apple is all about experience."

@nasimson: I think the idea is to "skim" the market first and only target the crazy loyal ones who're going to buy it all costs. Once Apple is done with that, it will lower the price to make it more affordable for the masses. Apple has been doing that with all the other launches.
tzubair
100%
0%
tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
3/31/2015 | 5:03:02 AM
Re: Isolating millions of loyal but not so rich fans
"Well, I guess Apple's approach answers our earlier debate of how they will compete with Rolex, etc."

@jastrof: I really don't think Apple would like to compete with Rolex over the watches. I think they belong to a completely different league and the target audience is much different. Apple is targeting towards young, rich Apply fanboys while Rolex is meant for the more mature and wealthy individuals.
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