Since the arrival of the iPhone in 2007 Apple has become the byword for the best in technology, the original iPhone was dubbed the Jesus Phone by many. Each product that has followed has been, rightly or wrongly, seen as the class leader for whatever niche it has occupied: the MacBook, the iPad, the MacBook Air, iMacs and Mac Pro.
The upshot of this is that if you want the best product, and to be seen with the best product, the bar to entry has been set at a reasonable level. Not cheap, but not unachievable. More so with the iPhone because of carrier contracts, but true of each product line.
Its been a democratisation of excellence. And now the Apple Watch changes that.
Take a look at the rich and the famous, the powerful, the movers and shakers. In amongst their luxury apartments, over-priced cars, jewellery and other accoutrements of a lifestyle with no financial limits there is a constant theme: an iPhone, an iPad, a MacBook... it doesn't matter how much money you have you can't get better than an Apple product. And whilst you may be able to spec that product up to twice or three times the entry level it gives you no more bling. Your iPhone 6 looks just the same as anybody else, gold foil wrap or diamond studded case notwithstanding.
The Apple Watch changes that dynamic. Now the rich and the famous can put the Gold edition of the Watch on safe in the knowledge that the great unwashed public will never be able to afford to do so. And the Watch will make statement of that fact by virtue of its golden hue. This is why Apple's pricing of the Watch makes sense. In fact, given that they will be available in such limited quantities I'd even suggest that Apple have seriously underpriced the Watch.
The only real kicker for Watch Edition buyers is that GoldGenie has already promised a 24ct gold plating service mirroring the one for the iPhone.
The premium for that service is likely to be in the hundreds of dollars rather than thousands, which may rather hurt the exclusivity of the top spec version.
Nevertheless Apple has set a new precedent here and used differentiation to boost the profits it can take from the Watch product line. Its decision to market and sell it as a fashion accessory as much as a technical solution speaks volumes about how it thinks the market will break down.