For Apple customers willing to fork over $10,000 or so for an Apple Watch Edition there are a bevy of perks such as no lines, better support and private appointments.
According to 9-to-5 Mac, there will be a unique experience in the Apple Store for buyers of the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition. These Apple Watch owners will get a special station and chairs, private setup and a VIP queue for phone support.
Welcome to the emerging world of luxury gadgets. Sure Porsche and BlackBerry had a number of collaborations on luxury devices. Apple will make a good run at segmenting its customer base too and likely be more successful.
The fashion-wealth-technology connection makes sense. On the surface, Apple's approach with the Apple Watch Edition is akin to what automakers, jewelers and high end retailers have used for years. You spend a lot of dough, there are perks. After all, companies need to make their best customers feel special.
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However, there's an absurdity to the Apple Watch Edition approach. Sure, someone who spends $10,000 on a device shouldn't wait in line. But there's a significant mental hurdle for me.
Here's the hurdle: The Apple Watch is a 1.0 product. Apple will sell a bunch of these watches. Buying a product that you know will only get better a few generations from now is ok for $350 to $500. Spending $10,000 on an Apple Watch that will be way outdated in a year or two doesn't make sense to me. Will you view a CXO wearing Apple Watch Edition as one who is tech savvy or silly?
Think of the aftermarket. A Rolex has an aftermarket. The watch isn't going to depreciate. You don't have to worry about the guts of the Rolex being useless in five years. The Apple Watch of 2018 is going to be a helluva lot better than the one launching in April. An 18-karat iPhone 4 is still an iPhone 4 that won't run the latest iOS and has seen its prime.
Short of a big run in the value of gold, it's hard to see the Apple Watch Edition appreciating. Why? The technology will be dated. Technology doesn't hold up to the test of time.
Nevertheless, technology vendors will soon follow Apple into the luxury device market. There's no choice. There are margins and brands to preserve. Along the way be prepared for a healthy dose of absurdity. Apple has the brand to pull it off. Most vendors don't.