We are fast approaching the yet-to-be-specified early 2015 release of the Apple Watch, Apple’s first endeavor into the wearable technology field. Always one to take technology and make it accessible and elegant, Apple specifically set out to make the most personal device they have ever made. Never one to reach for low-hanging fruit, Apple has also opted to target the most high-end of markets, with rumors that the Apple Watch Edition models will cost upwards of several thousand dollars — though the only real information we have on price is that the watches will start at $350 (via Business Insider).
According to 9to5Mac, Apple is really making the extra effort and recruiting retail candidates with “a fashion or luxury background.” The implications are huge, and may very well change the entire face and dynamic of the Apple Store as we know them today.
Aside from recruiting retail staff with experience in luxury and fashion, Apple has had its upcoming Watch highlighted by the cover of Vogue China and Vogue‘s editor Anna Wintour and CEO of Colette present at the Apple Watch appearance at Fashion Week in Paris.
As great as this all sounds, not everyone is singing the praises of Apple on this one and, in fact, some believe the concept of merging technology with luxury is a combination that simply does not work. Jean-Claude Biver, the chairman of Hublot, a Swiss luxury brand, spoke to the Wall Street Journal on the difficulties he believes Apple is facing.
“A smartwatch is very difficult for us because it is contradictory. Luxury is supposed to be eternal … How do you justify a $2,000 smart watch whose technology will become obsolete in two years?”
Biver is undoubtedly alone in this perspective and, while it may mostly be the woes of a competitor who refuses to keep up with the times, he does raise a good point. Buy a watch for $5,000 and one expects the watch to last a lifetime. But technology simply does not work that way. After several years, will the watch work as flawlessly as it did on day one? Not only that, but Apple will inevitably release a new model the next year, and where would that leave the consumer who’d just dropped the equivalent of a car down payment?
This isn’t the first time Apple has upset the marketplace. Its iPod helped to reinvigorate and revitalize the music industry back in a time when the idea of digital music still scared most consumers. Either way, we’ll know soon enough if the Apple Watch is a fitting luxury item when consumers vote with their pocketbooks come spring 2015.