“Starting at” is a frustrating phrase in tech. It’s a coy way of talking about the way a gadget is going to be priced while also skirting around the subject of whether or not you’ll actually want said gadget at that price. The price a thing “starts at” is rarely optimal—to get the best or most efficient version of your preferred gizmo, you’ll often have to pay more.
When Apple Watch was revealed last week, Apple CEO Time Cook said that the smartwatch would be “starting at” $349—an already hefty price, given the competition. But Cook also announced three “collections” for Apple Watch: Sport, Edition, and vanilla—the differences being in the materials used to construct the watch. Which of these did Apple Watch “start at”? And how high in price would the other two go?
Pretty high, it turns out.
According to John Gruber at Daring Fireball, one possible price breakdown would be as follows:
- Apple Watch Sport (aluminum and glass): $349
- Apple Watch (sapphire and steel): $999
- Apple Watch Edition (18K gold and sapphire): $4,999
But the prices are only half the story. As Gruber goes on to analyze what we know about Apple Watch in-depth (which isn’t much), he notes that the device serves as a reminder that Apple doesn’t always function as a tech company, but a lifestyle one.
When you think about it that way, a five thousand dollar watch doesn’t seem so farfetched.