Waiting for the Space Black Apple Watch

When Apple first previewed the Watch back in September last year, all that was said about price was "starts at $350", obviously for the smallest of the aluminium Sports models. Speculation on the standard stainless steel Watch, and of course the gold Edition models, was all over the map— I saw guesses ranging from "up to $1000" to "$20,000+". 

My personal preference has always been for the steel Watch (and mostly for the black version). I've worn a mostly-steel link bracelet Casio Waveceptor for most of the past decade, and I like the way it feels on my wrist. It feels weird having anything lighter on: I experimented (to the amusement of some of my colleagues) with wearing a 4th-generation iPod Nano on an expanding metal bracelet for a while, and despite loving having the controls for my commute listening right on my wrist I couldn't get used to how it didn't really feel like my regular watch. After about 8 months I went back to my Casio.

(An aside: while I like the Casio a lot, and love its combined analogue/digital display and its solar-charging face, I don't like that parts of it—the buttons and the undersides of where the strap meets the body—are made from chromed plastic. The chrome has long since worn away of course. I also grumble about how hard it is to set: regular time setting is automatic, but changing time zones is a puzzle worthy of Myst island. I've toyed with buying a more recent Casio, but they're all a bit bulky, and the Bluetooth App control seems like an afterthought.)

Since it's been so long since I've shopped for a watch (the Casio was a gift, and thinking about it I'm not sure I've *ever* bought a watch for myself) I had no preconceived idea of what the Apple Watch would/should cost. Looking around jewellery stores at a few decent mid-range steel watches it seemed to me that the steel Apple Watch might end up anywhere between £500 and £1500. When Apple revealed the price range of £480-£950 (from the 38mm stainless steel with sports band at the bottom, to the 42mm space black at the top) that seemed just about right for the "jewellery" watch market (though obviously not for the existing smartwatch market, if you can even call it that).

I considered—but eventually decided to ignore—the technology issue. Any watch built around a computer running an updatable OS will need to iterate faster than one with fixed and limited functionality. I think this is a necessary transition that brings both benefits and drawbacks, and the increased functional value should, in the medium term at least, outweigh the faster depreciation. I don't intend to upgrade it annually, though I'm confident it'll hold at least some value that would offset a replacement. My year-old iPhones hold their value pretty well.

This isn't how I normally think about new categories of product. With the first iPad (and iPad mini) I went in at the bottom end, until I was convinced of the value and upgraded to higher capacity (and SIM-equipped) models. That I've opted to dive into Apple Watch at the "jewellery" end of things is significant I think. It's clear that this product is pushing different buttons for me. Just, I suspect, as it was designed to.