Take away its smarts, and Apple Watch can still hold its own against the Breitlings and Cartiers of the world. Apple has crafted two sizes out of six materials and then upped the ante with 22 interchangeable bands, sporty to swanky. That leads to a wide variety of combinations, and likely an equally wide price range. John Gruber recently speculated that the highest-end 18K gold model could sell for upwards of $9,999. If he's right, that could make it the most expensive product in Apple's catalogue, since a fully maxed-out Mac Pro is a hair under 10 grand too.
That's not just a new category, it's a whole new philosophy, one that fits more on the runways of Milan than the halls of CES. Apple isn't just selling a smartwatch. It's selling a fashion accessory that happens to have a Bluetooth LTE chip.
With the iMac, Apple showed the world that personal computers could make a statement. The gold iPhone 5s injected a class shade into the usual color array. The Beats Music purchase brought a hip headphone brand under its umbrella. But make no mistake: Apple Watch is a full-on entrance into the world of fashion.
And it should be a great fit. The luxury watch market might not be as big as the smartphone one, but there's more than enough room for Apple to make its mark. With its sleek enclosure and digital crown, Apple Watch is as striking on the outside as a Bulgari Endurer or Franck Muller Vanguard, but its customizable face and interchangeable bands make it unlike any of its peers (and no, I don't count Samsung's Gear watches among them). Assuming developers write plenty of apps for it, and Apple adds features with updates, the watch could adapt to the times as quickly as it does to your outfit. But that's actually a point for dumb watches too--after all, you can keep a Rolex forever without worrying when the company will stop providing OS updates for it.
While we don't know much about the Apple Watch's specs, this time it really doesn't matter--its looks and the experiences it can provide are what's going to really count. Besides a fancy way to tell time, it can serve as a wearable link to your iPhone, a sensor-laden fitness tracker, and a new way to interact with your friends. But even when it's not doing any of those things, it'll still look darn good on your wrist.
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