What would you want a $300 iWatch to do?

Summary:If Apple is developing an iWatch that would retail for $300, what would it need to do to justify that price?

The other day Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty crunched the numbers and worked out that if Apple could sell 30 million iWatches over a year , and that each of those iWatches were priced at $300, then this would add a cool $9 billion to the company's revenue pot.

See also Apple could sell 30 to 60 million iWatches over the first year

Now there are a lot of ifs and buts and assumptions and guesses in that equation, but the number that popped out at me was the $300 a unit figure that Huberty used. And while it's a number plucked out of the air, it's a good place to kick off a thought experiment.

If Apple is developing an iWatch, and that would retail for $300, what would it need to do to justify that price?

First thing to note is that Apple products tend to pull in a profit margin of at least 30 percent, so for the purposes of this piece, let's assume 33 percent. This means that a $300 iWatch would cost Apple around $200 to make, excluding research and development costs, and marketing.

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So we're looking at what Apple can make for say $200.

The answer to that is a lot. After all, the iPhone 5s had a bill of materials of just under $200 at the time of release, and this is a device that includes a 4-inch retina display, a 64-bit processor, and a huge battery.

Even if Apple decided to pull in a 50-percent margin on the iWatch, at $300, money is not likely to be a problem.

If I were to put $300 down for an iWatch, here's what I'd like to see included.

  • Wireless charging: While there's an argument for using a cable to charge smartphones and tablets — because it allows you to carry on using the device while it's charging — using a cable to charge a wearable seems pointless, and wireless charging technology is now good enough to supersede being tethered to a cable.

  • Solar power: This is an option to help keep the battery topped up.

  • Sunlight-readable display: The iPhone and iPad can be hard to read in sunlight, so Apple needs to address this with the iWatch. 

  • App support: Apps are a cornerstone of iOS, and the iWatch would benefit tremendously from third-party developer support.

  • Go beyond being a second screen: I have no interest in a small, wrist-mounted second screen for my iPhone or iPad, neither do I want a huge "iPhone without the phone" on my wrist. That said, having it display emails, iMessages and other notifications would be useful in tying the iWatch in with the iOS ecosystem.

  • Multi-day battery life: Charging the thing daily would be a pain, and increases the chance that it is left to gather dust on a shelf.

  • Fitness and health sensors: It should feature a pedometer and heartrate sensor, and these should tie in with the Health app coming in iOS 8. There are rumors that Apple could take this further and fit a glucose meter and sweat sensor.

  • Security token: Use it as a token to unlock Macs and other iOS devices.

  • Locate feature: I want to be able to find my iPhone or iPad — perhaps by making it emit a sound — with a tap of the iWatch.

  • Robust: It has to be able to put up with the rough and tumble of daily life. That means being waterproof and shockproof, and resistant to knocks, bumps and scratches.

  • Control the Apple TV: I want to be able to ditch the remote!

What would you want from a $300 iWatch?

See also:

Topics: Mobility, Apple

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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