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Spring Forward - Apple Watch Event
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Brave Ulysses
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Join Date: Dec 2005
 
2015-03-09, 10:05

I believe this to be worthy of a separate thread from the Apple Watch thread.

2 hours away and its surprising how much has remained a secret. Especially considering how public Apple has been lately (Jony Ives in a dozen magazines, Cook appearing everywhere and talking to anyone who will listen, the watch appearing in fashion ad after fashion ad, and the one-on-one work with high profile developers to develop apps for it)

Any final guesses for feature surprises or surprise announcements?


A few for me:
1. Apple Bluetooth Earpods/running headphones. Beat branding maybe? I can't imagine Apple advertising the ability to run with the Apple Watch without iPhone but then not selling the headphones... especially after they spent billions buying a headphone designer.

2. Announcement that they are working with a car manufacturer (maybe Tesla, but more likely BMW) to have the Apple Watch become the key and info center for the car.

3. Similarly, an announcement with a high end hotel chain (Starwood) for the Apple Watch to become the hotel fob.

4. Same thing for ticketing..... airlines (American Airlines), trains (Amtrak), etc

4. The Apple Watch Edition will be cheaper than some high end estimates, particularly by Gruber

5. An equal or heavier emphasis is going to be placed on its ability to be a personal identifier as well as a notification center for your phone. (2 through 4 above plus heavy pushing of Apple Pay, with expanded partner/retail location announcement)

6. No price difference for the two different sizes.

7. Available in 4 weeks.

8. Apple TV software update... may not be announced but will be released/demonstrated

9. Major sidestepping of the fact that the watch doesn't have its own GPS capability, especially when it comes time to demonstrate and promote its fitness tracking capabilities.

10. New MacBook Airs :-)
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Brave Ulysses
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2015-03-09, 11:57

I'm not a fan of Apple's cheesy live blog and executive tweets before, during and after events
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Brave Ulysses
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2015-03-09, 12:48

MacBook Air 12" = I want.

edit: Apple is way too stingy on the built in ram. 8GB doesn't cut it. Especially for the $1599 price point.
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Brave Ulysses
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2015-03-09, 13:07

Tim's interactions with guests are always painful to watch.
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addison
Formerly “AWM”
 
Join Date: May 2009
 
2015-03-09, 13:14

The gold MacBook looks a little tacky from the pics I saw. Cheaper Apple tv is nice though.

A lot of talk about health monitoring on the watch but I think they are overestimating the number of people who really care about that.
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Brave Ulysses
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2015-03-09, 13:31

Quote:
Originally Posted by addison View Post
The gold MacBook looks a little tacky from the pics I saw. Cheaper Apple tv is nice though.

A lot of talk about health monitoring on the watch but I think they are overestimating the number of people who really care about that.
Not sure about that. I don't think the health monitoring goes far enough. At least out of my demographic of friends (25-35 year olds) health monitoring is huge.



Apple Watch Edition pricing..... holy shit.

Starting at $10,000
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Kickaha
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hell
 
2015-03-09, 13:37

Yup, right in line with what most were expecting. Look at the high end watch market some time, that's on the low end.
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Brave Ulysses
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2015-03-09, 13:42

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post
Yup, right in line with what most were expecting. Look at the high end watch market some time, that's on the low end.
I wouldn't say that. Gruber (as he pointed out) was actually the only pundit/analysts/etc to suggest a price that high. And I doubt that "most" of the general public ever would have guessed that price point.

It is what it is, and will be purchased by ridiculously wealthy people who have money to burn. May as well offer something at incredible margins for them. Make profit and earn prestige.



This was an awful Apple presentation though. Incredibly weak reveals and sales pitches. But the biggest bizarreness to me has to be Tim Cook wearing an old man sweater that covers his wrist and the Apple Watch for the entire event.
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Brave Ulysses
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2015-03-09, 13:52

And the Apple Watch Edition seems to top out at $17,000.
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Eugene
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-03-09, 14:11

I thought the event was great on all fronts. I now have to resist the temptation to buy a rAir and a stainless Watch when I was previously so sure I'd go for neither.
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Brave Ulysses
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2015-03-09, 14:13

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
I thought the event was great on all fronts. I now have to resist the temptation to buy a rAir and a stainless Watch when I was previously so sure I'd go for neither.
Good to hear that it worked for some. The pacing to me seemed off, and the pre-produced product ads seemed excessive.

I guess I was hoping for a bit more wow from unannounced features.

And still just find Cook's wardrobe and covering of his Apple Watch to be a bizarre decision.
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2015-03-09, 14:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post
MacBook Air 12" = I want.

edit: Apple is way too stingy on the built in ram. 8GB doesn't cut it. Especially for the $1599 price point.
Well, if the high-end version comes with a twice as fast SSD then you are probably not going to notice it too much. On my iMac with 8 GB RAM it's invariably the HHD that causes any delays and that's an eight years old machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post
Yup, right in line with what most were expecting. Look at the high end watch market some time, that's on the low end.
Just in line with Gruber & Co's guesses. However I'm sure that there will be some aftermarket modifications that will drive the price up tenfold, along with the tackiness.

Btw. I just saw on this spec sheet that the 42 mm versions apparently will have slightly better battery life and that power reserve will last up to three days. I suppose that makes that awful battery life somewhat more tolerable. Having complained enough about the battery life, I have to say that that "day in the life of an Apple Watch demo" did impress me and I think I'm over my Pebble infatuation now.
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Brave Ulysses
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2015-03-09, 14:20

Question related to battery life.

If needing to be charged everyday... what affect will that have on the battery's longevity? Isn't their still a maximum charge cycle for lithium ion batteries? You would be looking at over 300 charge cycles per year easy.
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2015-03-09, 14:29

I charge my iPhone as good as every day and it's over two years old which should add up to more that 300 cycles on each cell. But last time (two months ago) I checked the battery was still at over 90% of it's original capacity. I can't say why, but if the basic battery tech is the same, then an Apple Watch should be able to live at least two years before it's battery degrades too much. On the other hand the battery in the watch might see much more stress if users take to charging it more that once a day.

I suppose such concerns are part of the rev. A experience.

Last edited by Mugge : 2015-03-09 at 14:32. Reason: typo
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Eugene
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hillsborough, CA
 
2015-03-09, 14:29

Battery specifications can be all over the map. It could be 500 recharge cycles, or it could also be 3000 charge cycles. I'm sure battery replacement services will be offered. I'm not troubled by the battery life. I charge my phone and MBA nightly already. Longer life would be convenient, but not crucial.

Is it weird that I'm just as excited for the new butterfly domes as any other bullet point in today's reveal?
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drewprops
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2015-03-09, 15:04

The new keyboard tech was actually cool.

Health research options excite me.

The watch still looks stupidly thick.

Where is AppleTV app market?

...
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Denmark
 
2015-03-09, 15:10

Yes, the keyboard did look amazing. But considering that the current ones already feel too flat for me, I'm not sure it's as good as they claim. Not that I won't be trying it and the track pad out next time I pass by an Apple Store, though.
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addison
Formerly “AWM”
 
Join Date: May 2009
 
2015-03-09, 16:04

After seeing the final product I can't justify the watch at those prices. If the base watch was $200 or close to that I may bite but at $350 it's not worth it in the current form. It's a product full of redundancies. The other stuff like opening a garage door/hotel room or requesting an Uber is of questionable value at this point. Plus I want a battery that gives a few days at least so I'll wait and see what the next version offers.

And thanks for shoving the watch app onto my phone even though I don't plan on buying one. Yet another thing to add to my folder of useless apps I don't want.
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Jason
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Join Date: Oct 2004
 
2015-03-09, 17:18

I thought the event was a little off - cannot put my finger on why.

Thoughts on the watch:

People on MacRumours, Verge and everywhere else complaining about the $10,000 model. It isn't meant for them. This model is aimed at well-heeled fashionista types - people who read Vogue magazine and so forth. I can already envisage Beyonce posing with this model in the April edition of Vanity Fair.

Even 90s supermodel Christy Turlington appeared on stage. It's all aimed at the fashion crowd.

Wealthy watch collectors would not be interested in a gold Apple watch. For the most part, those people buy swiss mechanical watches. Things that were hand assembled, have a degree of heritage and are good investments. An Apple watch will not appeal to them. These guys buy 1950s Rolex Daytonas and Patek Philippe dress watches.

I can only see this being a big success two or three years from now when the technology has matured to the point where it is no longer necessary to own an iPhone to use it. The fact that the watch is essentially a 'slave' unit is going to hamper anyone outside of the iOS ecosystem. The reason the iPod and iPad were a huge success was partly down the fact that anyone could buy one.

Remember when the iPod first came out? Apple didn't waste much time making a Windows edition of iTunes. They need to figure a way for people to come across from other platforms without having to buy an iPhone in the process.

As usual with Apple, most of the real innovations and cool stuff will appear in the second and third generation models. After then, it will just be incremental advances.

I'm still not sold on wearables. They obviously have a place for sports people, athletes and health-orientated individuals. But for everyone else, how many more seconds does it take to pick up your phone than look at your wrist? More importantly, do you need to be constantly notified of everything immediately?

Having said all that, I still think it will be a success.

Last edited by Jason : 2015-03-09 at 18:29.
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Jason
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Join Date: Oct 2004
 
2015-03-09, 18:22

Interesting article written by the guy who runs Hodinkee.

http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/9/817...ymer-interview

Quote:
At and above $20,000, you begin to enter the absolute highest echelons of mechanical watchmaking. Here the human value of each watch can make up 50 percent of the final retail price. There are two different roads one can take in this category of uber watch — either the Mr. Dufour route where the watches are simple looking, but incredibly finely finished and beautiful from the rear (similar to these), or one can trend toward "complicated" watches. These watches can, for example, keep track of the date, including leap years, for over 200 years at a time. If a watch is complicated and incredibly finely finished, the price compounds into the six-figure range — like a Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph. In this range, almost anything goes and the human value should always be significant. Further, there is really no end-point for the price someone will pay for a watch — the most valuable watches in the world are in fact from last century, produced entirely without the aid of computers. This means that all vintage watches hold even higher human value than most of the expensive complicated pieces of today. The ne plus ultra of mechanical watchmaking is the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication, which sold this past November for $24,000,000. Why? Because it is not only incredibly complicated, with 24 distinct functions, but designed and built entirely by the human hand — something the Apple Watch will never be able to claim.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2015-03-09, 20:39

Of course the Apple Watch Edition is $10,000. It's a fucking gold watch. Did people really think Apple was going to sell it for a couple hundred above cost? They're not a bargain basement brand. Their real mistake was quoting a price at all.

That said, it's not like the Edition is the only model, so I don't get the wailing. They made a piece of jewelry that's priced as one, but it's not like there aren't options that are priced more like gadgets. At $349, the Sport makes, say, the FitBit Surge ($250) look old and ridiculously overpriced, like something out of the last century. In fact, $349 is a lower entry price than the first iPod or iPhone or iPad.

The breadth of choices is impressive. It really does feel like we're on year two of the Apple Watch already, with the cheaper Sport being the iPhone 5C or iPad mini to the steel watch's 5S or iPad Air.

More than any other Apple product, I feel like the Watch has to be felt to be judged. But if it feels as good as the reports suggest, watch out.

Of course, my favorite is the gorgeous red leather modern buckle. Pity you have to buy a gold watch to get it.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Brave Ulysses
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2015-03-09, 20:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Of course the Apple Watch Edition is $10,000. It's a fucking gold watch. Did people really think Apple was going to sell it for a couple hundred above cost? They're not a bargain basement brand. Their real mistake was quoting a price at all.
Agree with everything else but the margins on the Apple Watch Edition are huge. The price of the gold in it is valued closer to $900.
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Robo
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2015-03-09, 20:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post
Agree with everything else but the margins on the Apple Watch Edition are huge. The price of the gold in it is valued closer to $900.
And the margins on every other gold watch are huge, too, because buying a gold watch isn't about getting a good amount of gold for your money.

If they sold it for any less, they'd look bad to the people whose opinions on it actually matter: those looking to spend many thousands of dollars on a luxury gold watch.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Chinney
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa, ON
 
2015-03-09, 20:52

I wish that you could keep the Apple watch charged by winding it. I am assuming that you can't though.
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Brave Ulysses
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2015-03-09, 21:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
And the margins on every other gold watch are huge, too, because buying a gold watch isn't about getting a good amount of gold for your money.

If they sold it for any less, they'd look bad to the people whose opinions on it actually matter: those looking to spend many thousands of dollars on a luxury gold watch.
Sorry but I don't buy that argument. The Apple Watch Edition is what it is. But it is in uncharted waters and traditional gold watches certainly don't set the precedent for it. You can get an equal weight of gold watch for less, you can get one for 40K more.

Anything above $1,500 is in serious designer watch territory and is not something that the majority of people consider buying. This is also not a time honored traditional mechanical watch.... it is a smart watch, with different expectations and zero tradition.

Your original assertion was that it was absurd to think that Apple was "going to sell it for a couple hundred above cost". 10K is way more than a couple hundred above cost.... it's many thousand above cost.

Will they sell them? I'm sure they will. How many? Who knows. Will they even reveal that?

I just find it a very fascinating move on Apple's behalf and one that is near impossible to predict the outcome of. Clearly Apple could make significant profit on selling the Edition at half of the current 10K price.... they could likely even make a profit at a third of the current 10K price. But they consciously chose to make it arbitrarily exclusive based on income and the ability to blow 10K on something worth far less and not care about it. Again.... that still would have existed at 5K. Hell, that barrier really exists for the $999 Stainless Steel watch with steel band as well. It is purely flaunting economic status for the hell of it.

I'm not really a fan of that. I feel like Apple's products have always had healthy margins but have always had impressive engineering and features to reasonably justify climbing the product ladder. This instead is just purely based on elitism. It seems disingenuous that a lot of the same people who criticize the 1% will defend this product that flaunts the power and status of the 1%.
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Wrao
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Join Date: May 2004
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2015-03-09, 22:25

My feelings on the watch overall are well documented already. Now that we know the full details I don't really feel any differently. That being said, I gotta hand it to Apple's photography/webpage design for really doing an excellent job at making the thing look as attractive as possible. I was thumbing through the different configurations earlier and definitely felt a pang or two of 'this is desirable and I want it' even against how much I really don't.

Also, damn if the price conditioning doesn't work too. You thumb around on all those configurations for a while and before long $600-700 starts to seem like a great value in context.

I think the first generation edition watches will probably sell out and be successful because they will carry some air of ... something to them on the sheer force of being a spectacle/event/historical thing. What boggles my mind a bit is what the future of this device will look like. It stands to reason that in a few years the cheapest 'sport' version(which could even drop in price for all we know) will be objectively superior in every conceivably way to the $17k Edition today, we may even see third party cases and bands that make the perceived difference that much smaller.

And as BU points out there's no tradition here, there's no heirloom quality there's no heritage or rep really. People might bag on a fake Rolex or whatever but I doubt people will feel bad about wearing a third party band/case/customization for their Apple Watch.

We also talk about battery chemistry and how in enough years a first generation Apple Watch won't even properly hold a charge which again, actual five-figure luxury watches are over designed and timeless and can essentially outlast their owners. It's a really huge leap, imo, to think that same justification will transfer over to smart watches.

Which isn't even to consider the very real possibility that other luxury watch makers, who are already well versed in the high fidelity low volume market won't just go ahead and make their own smart watches as well, or perhaps more to the point, make a watch that is an heirloom piece of jewelry first but is lightly augmented with 'smart' capabilities in subtle or clever ways that make an Apple Watch (or any other 'computer company makes watch' smart watch) suddenly seem a bit... dull.

But, far be it from me to really doubt Apple's market research here, and also without trying to get too political or whatever but we do live in an era where there is a lot of ridiculous money being thrown around to people for ridiculous things, Silicon Valley tech culture as is is already overrun with loose money and people itching to showcase it. So maybe that's 'enough' or whatever.


edit: another thought about the future of this device. Obviously bands are a big thing that separates the cost but what is Apple's plan exactly for the next 10 years here, are you going to have to buy a new band with every new watch or will future versions just let you buy the watch and keep your existing bands? and can Apple even possible hope to compete against a tidal wave of third party options, legitimate or otherwise?
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Brave Ulysses
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2015-03-09, 22:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrao View Post

And as BU points out there's no tradition here, there's no heirloom quality there's no heritage or rep really. People might bag on a fake Rolex or whatever but I doubt people will feel bad about wearing a third party band/case/customization for their Apple Watch.
Exactly. People who buy the Apple Watch Edition are not doing it for a respect for handmade watches or engineering or the longevity of the device. They will buy it because they want the attention of blowing $10K-$17K on a piece of electronics will get them when seen wearing it. That rich person's watch is literally identical in function (and really form and craftsmanship) as someone with the $349 model. It is unprecedented and bizarre to me.

Again... I'm most fascinated by Apple's decision of the 10K price point. Not 4K,not 5K or 8K... all of which would have been profitable and still exclusive. But they made a calculated decision to make this as exclusive by economic status as possible.



Then again... we live in a world where front row seats at Yankee Stadium are $2,650/seat per game..... and require a season ticket plan. The 2nd row is $1,250. So, there are people willing to pay $1,400 more per game just to not have a single head in front of them. And they are sold out.... even with a shitty baseball team on the field.
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Wrao
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Join Date: May 2004
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2015-03-10, 02:11

The only justification I've heard that makes any sense about the $10k price point is to factor in for the fact that the price of gold itself can vary pretty hugely so this way they can ensure they not only keep the same prices but also the same(in a near enough it makes no difference) margins.

Of course, that doesn't address the other part of why not $4k or $5k...etc. without doing the lookups right now I'd bet even the absolute highest price of gold wouldn't be enough to upset a $4k iPhone's price and margins.

I also haven't confirmed but someone on a forum I was reading proposed there is probably between $900-1400 worth of gold in the Edition at current prices, so I dunno, I guess if that is at all accurate and the price of gold *tripled* having the set $10k sort of becomes justifiable?


But eh, not really fuck it. Apple did something weird with this product and I don't really agree with it.
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Mugge
Thunderbolt, fuck yeah!
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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2015-03-10, 02:53

Well, I suppose there are no princelings, oligarchs, celebrities or such on AN. Only people that think shelling out $10,000 on a smart watch that will be obsolete in two years is beyond what they can justify. I don't have a problem with that.

But I also don't think Apple will have any problems selling their stock of these to said princelings, etc. And it now seems obvious to me that Apple being the richest company on earth, in part thanks to rich people buying overpriced wares, allows Apple to pursue some things that have previously not been possible. Just look at that new MacBook, Research Kit and so on. That is a good thing for many more people
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Jason
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2015-03-10, 03:00

Well, one way to look at it is, Apple made a watch that has everyone talking and yet practically no-one can afford - all aboard the hype train, folks. It's amazing marketing and keeps everyone thinking Apple.
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