We’ve been suspecting that prices on the fancy gold Apple Watch were going to be sky-high but the latest news from rumor land raises those expectations even higher. By the time the long-awaiting smartwatch goes on sale this spring, your local Apple Store could look more like a jewelry mart than a hangout for techies.
A report by the usually reliable 9to5Mac claims that custom-designed safes are now being installed in Apple Stores to protect the gold Apple Watch “Edition” model, the priciest of the new timepieces. These special safes will contain MagSafe chargers to get the demo models juiced up overnight and ready to go the next morning. The safes will also provide secure storage for the store’s current inventory of Apple Watches.
These precautions raise the question of just how expensive will the top-of-the-line Apple Watches be? It’s not like the Apple retail locations haven’t been filled with pricey items all along, since a Mac computer with all the bells and whistles can set you back several grand. The big difference is that a sticky-fingered customer (or employee) can’t slip a 27” iMac inside his or her pocket and sneak it out the door.
In addition to the custom safes, the “Edition” watches are expected to get a special sales process and a dedicated shelving area. In addition, more fashion-savvy employees are being hired to demonstrate the style features of the Apple Watch. Starting today, current employees will be wearing new and more stylish blue tee shirts, some with collars.
Obviously Apple Stores will be changing to accommodate the new and more fashion-conscious customers that are expected to pay big bucks for the tech giant’s first wearable device. This raises the question of how these changes will go over with the hardcore fanboyz who have made Apple what it is today. Added security is certain to discourage casual customers from hanging around the store for hours and checking out the iPads, iPhones and other non-watch-related goodies. Will this send those buyers off to Best Buy or Walmart?
All this preparation leads to the suspicion that the gold “Edition” Apple Watches are going to come with a much bigger price tag than previously estimated. While Apple has announced that the low-end aluminum and stainless steel models will start at $349, there have been no official prices released on the more expensive versions. Estimates have ranged from a low $1,000 to a high $10,000.
The Apple Watch collection offers a choice of polished or space black stainless steel cases and several bands while the Sport collection features cases of anodized aluminum in silver or space gray with a fluoroelastomer band in five colors. The choices for the “Edition” collection include an 18k rose gold case in 38mm or 42mm with white sport band or rose gray buckle and matching band and 42mm yellow gold case with black sport band or midnight blue classic buckle and band.
It’s pretty safe to bet that a 27” custom Mac won’t be the most expensive item in the Apple Store for much longer.