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Apple Watch arrives April 24, some models top US$10K

Gregg Keizer | March 10, 2015
CEO Tim Cook promises all-day battery life for Cupertino's first new device category since 2010's iPad.

Meanwhile, the Apple Watch, with a stainless steel case and a selection of more upmarket bands, will start at $549 (38mm) and $599 (42mm) and climb to $1,049 and $1,099.

Finally, the Apple Watch Edition -- sporting an 18-caret gold case -- will begin at $10,000, although Cook declined to get more specific than that. Presumably, that price would be attached to the smaller 38mm model, with dollar signs quickly escalating as high-priced bands are purchased.

Remarkably, the opening price of the Apple Watch was the company's lowest-ever for a new product, pointed out Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research. And although $10,000 may have shocked some, it was actually only $5 more than the opening price of the 1983 Lisa computer, a Steve Jobs-backed precursor to the original Macintosh.

In fact, the Apple Watch Edition's beginning price was significantly less than the Lisa, which at $9,995 in 1983, equaled $23,800 in 2015 dollars.

"Almost all of the action is going to be between $349 and $1,100," said Dawson. "Ninety-nine percent of the units will be there. Say the average price is $700, that's right around the same price as the [unsubsidized iPhone 6] and fits very well within Apple's existing product lines."

Milanesi agreed, although she expects that the bulk of initial sales would be of the Sport model, with a much lower volume of the stainless steel line because of its over-$1,000 price point.

So with Moorhead, who predicted that 50% to 75% of the volume would come from the Sport.

"Sport watches are already priced between $200 and $600, so Apple is well within the category's pricing," said Moorhead. "It's not even the premium, and I see [Apple's pricing as] them wanting to drive a lot of volume."

Apple will begin taking pre-orders on April 10 on its online mart for customers in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S., and through a reservation system, offer previews and try-ons at its retail stores in those countries. Retail availability and pre-order deliveries will be slated for April 24. Both are Fridays, Apple's favorite start-to-sell day of the week.

 

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