​How Apple's 12-inch MacBook could steal Apple Watch's thunder

Once you start adding new bands to the Apple Watch the cost can rise enough to opt for a new MacBook, which is more refined, just as fashionable and features strong design.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on
Once you price the Apple Watch and bands you may just opt for the latest MacBook.

You have $1,200 to spend and you've already determined that the cash is going into Apple's coffers. You enter the Apple Store for the Apple Watch appointment.

After some upsell fun, Apple banter and a walkthrough of the Apple Watch you opt for the 42mm Stainless Steel Case with White Sport Band. But you really don't want the white band so it's time to shop for a new one. A stainless steel watch should probably have a band to match right? Enter the $449 42mm Link Bracelet.

And that folks is how quickly you get to spending $1,048 (excluding tax) on the Apple Watch.

This shopper then has a choice. Spend the money on the Apple Watch, a 1.0 product that you know will just get better in the future, or be enticed by the real star attraction of Apple's smartwatch event last month: The new 12-inch MacBook starting at $1,299.

It is quite possible that the Apple Watch will be chucked for the MacBook. Either way Apple wins, but the company has priced its smartwatch in a way that could drive you to buy something else.

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The Apple spending equation hit me when I was in CNET's labs in New York. Scott Stein had the Apple Watch and noted that it was about a $1,100 device. In the land of watches, that price isn't that uncommon. In the land of tech, the $1,000 barrier makes you wonder if you should just buy a new Mac, iPad or maybe both.

Tech vendors don't get the pricing equation when they trumpet how great their products are. For instance, Microsoft's Surface 3 has a reasonable price at $499 until you throw in the keyboard for $129. At the combined price of $628 you start pondering a clamshell laptop.

Let's face it. Wallets aren't expanding, but technology products are. There's no convergence happening. We're just accumulating more devices. At some point there will be an accessory gadget backlash. Not all tech vendors can pull off the Apple shtick.

How can a MacBook snag sales from the Apple Watch? The MacBook being tested by CNET's Dan Ackerman was sweet. So sweet that the keys, haptic feedback trackpad and design outdistanced the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch is nice with a good finish, but still looks more like tech toy than fashion accessory. Toss in the fact that most consumers aren't quite sure what to do with a smartwatch or why they need one and it's not a stretch to think the MacBook is a better buy. Clearly, the latest MacBook is more refined.

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It's quite possible that the MacBook in a Starbucks will get you more looks than an Apple Watch.

Add it up and Apple's MacBook may get a halo effect from the Apple Watch. I'm willing to bet that a lot of folks will go into Apple's retail stores to scope a watch and walk out with a MacBook.

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