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What will the Apple Watch Edition cost? Jewelry and watch people weigh in

Apple Watch Edition

[Ed. Note: Rob Bates, is a senior editor for JCK, and blogger/writer about the diamond and jewelry industries—this post originally posted here]

When we first started talking about the Apple Watch, some predicted that the highest-end model—the 18k gold Edition—could retail for more than $1,000. Now that seems almost quaint. Apple-focused blogs such as Daring Fireball now regularly bandy about numbers like $10,000—and sometimes far more.

The jewelry and watch sources I spoke with all think a price tag of $6,000 or more is reasonable, maybe even probable. “If it’s under $5,000, it will shock me,” says Michael Pucci, founder of the Los Angeles–based Abbiamo Group, marketing and sales consultants for jewelry and watches. He thinks the price tag will fall between $6,000 and $10,000, but not likely much more than that.

The 18k gold is, of course, the watch’s most valuable component. While it’s difficult to judge gold content from photos—given questions about thickness, etc.—industry experts believe the watch and accompanying case will use about 1 ounce of gold (currently trading for around $1,200).

Apple Watch Edition

Courtesy: Apple

The Apple Watch Edition.

Yet, you can’t just value the gold by weight, argues Torry Hoover, president of Hoover & Strong, the metals refiner.

“These can’t be mass-produced,” he says. “You can machine parts of it, but it will take a fair amount to make a case. There is still a lot of handwork that has to be done with it.”

That’s because gold’s properties sometimes make the metal ill-suited for assembly lines, says Jason Wilbur, a Los Angeles–based watch designer.

“We all know how soft gold is. It’s tricky. It moves around a little more than other metals. You have a lot of sharp edges and soft materials and little connection points, so you can’t just use manufacturing tools. The lugs may end up snapping off. One little pockmark on this thing will show up. You can’t just use the same tools as the other models and throw some gold in there, and there is your watch.”

Apple claims it’s using a company-developed metal that’s “up to twice as hard as standard gold.” Of course, saying “up to” gives it a lot of leeway, and no one I spoke to thinks it will introduce anything truly radical.

“There are always different alloys, but I think that’s more marketing than anything else,” says Morris Chabbott, managing director of New York City–based Morét Time. “I’ve been in the gold business, and there are many different things you can do with it. Apple is about making the best technology, so if they are making gold they may want a little edge to it.”

Given all the extras involved—including promotion costs and Apple’s traditional 40 percent margin—most guessed the watch will likely wholesale for around $3,000–$4,000. Then comes the thornier question of how much it will retail for.

Apple’s hiring of Patrick Pruniaux, former sales director at TAG Heuer, signals it wants to sell the high-end watch sold at the standard places that sell high-end watches—perhaps department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

But the company is known for offering retailers (including its own) meager margins. Stores make a scant 3 percent on each iPad, according to ZDNet. High-end retailers may like the Apple Watch as a traffic builder. But they may draw the line at 3 percent.

“This could bring a new consumer to department stores,” says Pucci. “But I think they will also tell them: ‘Look we love you guys, but we have to make at least 35 to 40 percent.’ ”

Watch markups vary depending on the power of the brand and its price point, according to Andrew Block, who spent 25 years at Tourneau and now heads Stephen Singer Fine Jewelry. For new or unproven high-end brands, they generally near 50 percent, with the bulk pocketed by the retailer. For more sought-after names, the retail markup falls to 30–40 percent, with the manufacturers keeping more for itself.

So what category does this fall into? Apple being Apple, retailers may give it some leeway—to a point.

“Apple’s brand is formidable,” says Block. “But so is Rolex’s, so is Patek Philippe’s. Some of the other brands are just as formidable in this category. It hasn’t established its value yet in gold.” (He believes the Apple Watch will be bigger in overseas markets such China and South America than it will be in the United States.)

Apple could sell the watch at its own high-end boutiques—it is reportedly opening a store on Madison Avenue in New York City, on a retail strip surrounded by jewelry stores. In addition, according to The New Yorker, Apple design head Jonathan Ive and store chief Angela Ahrendts—who formerly ran Burberry—are remodeling the standard stores so they “become a more natural setting for vitrines filled with gold.” (Among the rumored changes: Salespeople will wear shirts with collars.) Ive talks about overhearing one conversation: “I’m not going to buy a watch if I can’t stand on carpet.”

So it’s safe to say Apple stores will now feature nice carpets. That costs money. So does the extra security needed for high-end items. Carrying a gold watch is “totally antithetical to their current retail model,” says John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance. “You can’t have people touching it. You can’t have it out on counters. You have the same problems that retail jewelers have, in terms of distraction thefts, in terms of switching, in terms of grab and runs.”

Then there are the X factors. Wilbur believes that Apple will leverage the “psychology of luxury brands.”

“The whole purpose of this is to create extra emotional buzz,” he says. “There is no functional value to having the gold there, there is no beauty advantage—if it was just about the look, you could just gold-plate it.”

“No one wants an Hublot for $3,000. They want it for $20,000 or $30,000. A lot of people will only want this if it’s $10,000 or more.”

It is difficult to find a gold watch for less than $10,000—many retail for double that. Of course, Swiss manufacturers will argue this is an Apple-to-Rolex comparison, as their products’ intricate craftsmanship justifies that high price tag. “What makes a high-end watch?” asks Hoover. “It’s the Swiss movements, the inner workings. That’s why collectors buy them. This has none of that. It’s inserting a high-end case on a piece of electronics.” (That said, not all consumers will realize that—or care.)

Then there’s the question of value. As the watch industry likes to remind people, its products are built to last generations. The Apple Watch might turn obsolete by next week. The high-end model might allow users to upgrade by making the “guts” removable, which would partly solve the problem, but not totally. “The Watch will become thinner,” says tech site Venture Beat. “It may incorporate a better battery. It might get a camera.… After a couple of years of ownership the first-generation 18-karat gold Apple Watch will be outdated beyond anything a firmware update can fix.”

This is also still pretty new ground for the company, and tech in general. “As far as I’m aware, this is the first technology product that is made out of precious metal besides the Vertu phone,” says Chabbot. “I think it will fit into a price point where it’s accessible luxury.”

I agree, and predict a low price point—possibly $5,999. High margins and low turnover are the luxury store business model. Not Apple’s. If the company makes a thousand dollars or more on each high-end watch, that’s far better than what it takes home on a $700 iPhone.

Plus, it can always go higher. If Apple establishes itself as a luxury brand, it could produce watches sprinkled with diamonds, or introduce limited-edition designs, or do co-ventures with established names.

The company is still dipping its toe in the water here. Whatever number the first Edition retails for, it may not be the ceiling, but the floor.

To receive the latest jewelry news and blogs every day, subscribe to JCK’s e-newsletter here.

Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch Tagged: Alexander Wang (designer), Apple watch, Apple Watch Edition, ART, Bergdorf Goodman, United States, Watch

Visit 9to5Mac to find more special coverage of AAPL Company, United States, and Apple watch.

What do you think? Discuss "What will the Apple Watch Edition cost? Jewelry and watch people weigh in" with our community.

What will the Apple Watch Edition cost? Jewelry and watch people weigh in

Apple Watch Edition

[Ed. Note: Rob Bates, is a senior editor for JCK, and blogger/writer about the diamond and jewelry industries—this post originally posted here]

When we first started talking about the Apple Watch, some predicted that the highest-end model—the 18k gold Edition—could retail for more than $1,000. Now that seems almost quaint. Apple-focused blogs such as Daring Fireball now regularly bandy about numbers like $10,000—and sometimes far more.

The jewelry and watch sources I spoke with all think a price tag of $6,000 or more is reasonable, maybe even probable. “If it’s under $5,000, it will shock me,” says Michael Pucci, founder of the Los Angeles–based Abbiamo Group, marketing and sales consultants for jewelry and watches. He thinks the price tag will fall between $6,000 and $10,000, but not likely much more than that.

The 18k gold is, of course, the watch’s most valuable component. While it’s difficult to judge gold content from photos—given questions about thickness, etc.—industry experts believe the watch and accompanying case will use about 1 ounce of gold (currently trading for around $1,200).

Apple Watch Edition

Courtesy: Apple

The Apple Watch Edition.

Yet, you can’t just value the gold by weight, argues Torry Hoover, president of Hoover & Strong, the metals refiner.

“These can’t be mass-produced,” he says. “You can machine parts of it, but it will take a fair amount to make a case. There is still a lot of handwork that has to be done with it.”

That’s because gold’s properties sometimes make the metal ill-suited for assembly lines, says Jason Wilbur, a Los Angeles–based watch designer.

“We all know how soft gold is. It’s tricky. It moves around a little more than other metals. You have a lot of sharp edges and soft materials and little connection points, so you can’t just use manufacturing tools. The lugs may end up snapping off. One little pockmark on this thing will show up. You can’t just use the same tools as the other models and throw some gold in there, and there is your watch.”

Apple claims it’s using a company-developed metal that’s “up to twice as hard as standard gold.” Of course, saying “up to” gives it a lot of leeway, and no one I spoke to thinks it will introduce anything truly radical.

“There are always different alloys, but I think that’s more marketing than anything else,” says Morris Chabbott, managing director of New York City–based Morét Time. “I’ve been in the gold business, and there are many different things you can do with it. Apple is about making the best technology, so if they are making gold they may want a little edge to it.”

Given all the extras involved—including promotion costs and Apple’s traditional 40 percent margin—most guessed the watch will likely wholesale for around $3,000–$4,000. Then comes the thornier question of how much it will retail for.

Apple’s hiring of Patrick Pruniaux, former sales director at TAG Heuer, signals it wants to sell the high-end watch sold at the standard places that sell high-end watches—perhaps department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

But the company is known for offering retailers (including its own) meager margins. Stores make a scant 3 percent on each iPad, according to ZDNet. High-end retailers may like the Apple Watch as a traffic builder. But they may draw the line at 3 percent.

“This could bring a new consumer to department stores,” says Pucci. “But I think they will also tell them: ‘Look we love you guys, but we have to make at least 35 to 40 percent.’ ”

Watch markups vary depending on the power of the brand and its price point, according to Andrew Block, who spent 25 years at Tourneau and now heads Stephen Singer Fine Jewelry. For new or unproven high-end brands, they generally near 50 percent, with the bulk pocketed by the retailer. For more sought-after names, the retail markup falls to 30–40 percent, with the manufacturers keeping more for itself.

So what category does this fall into? Apple being Apple, retailers may give it some leeway—to a point.

“Apple’s brand is formidable,” says Block. “But so is Rolex’s, so is Patek Philippe’s. Some of the other brands are just as formidable in this category. It hasn’t established its value yet in gold.” (He believes the Apple Watch will be bigger in overseas markets such China and South America than it will be in the United States.)

Apple could sell the watch at its own high-end boutiques—it is reportedly opening a store on Madison Avenue in New York City, on a retail strip surrounded by jewelry stores. In addition, according to The New Yorker, Apple design head Jonathan Ive and store chief Angela Ahrendts—who formerly ran Burberry—are remodeling the standard stores so they “become a more natural setting for vitrines filled with gold.” (Among the rumored changes: Salespeople will wear shirts with collars.) Ive talks about overhearing one conversation: “I’m not going to buy a watch if I can’t stand on carpet.”

So it’s safe to say Apple stores will now feature nice carpets. That costs money. So does the extra security needed for high-end items. Carrying a gold watch is “totally antithetical to their current retail model,” says John Kennedy, president of the Jewelers’ Security Alliance. “You can’t have people touching it. You can’t have it out on counters. You have the same problems that retail jewelers have, in terms of distraction thefts, in terms of switching, in terms of grab and runs.”

Then there are the X factors. Wilbur believes that Apple will leverage the “psychology of luxury brands.”

“The whole purpose of this is to create extra emotional buzz,” he says. “There is no functional value to having the gold there, there is no beauty advantage—if it was just about the look, you could just gold-plate it.”

“No one wants an Hublot for $3,000. They want it for $20,000 or $30,000. A lot of people will only want this if it’s $10,000 or more.”

It is difficult to find a gold watch for less than $10,000—many retail for double that. Of course, Swiss manufacturers will argue this is an Apple-to-Rolex comparison, as their products’ intricate craftsmanship justifies that high price tag. “What makes a high-end watch?” asks Hoover. “It’s the Swiss movements, the inner workings. That’s why collectors buy them. This has none of that. It’s inserting a high-end case on a piece of electronics.” (That said, not all consumers will realize that—or care.)

Then there’s the question of value. As the watch industry likes to remind people, its products are built to last generations. The Apple Watch might turn obsolete by next week. The high-end model might allow users to upgrade by making the “guts” removable, which would partly solve the problem, but not totally. “The Watch will become thinner,” says tech site Venture Beat. “It may incorporate a better battery. It might get a camera.… After a couple of years of ownership the first-generation 18-karat gold Apple Watch will be outdated beyond anything a firmware update can fix.”

This is also still pretty new ground for the company, and tech in general. “As far as I’m aware, this is the first technology product that is made out of precious metal besides the Vertu phone,” says Chabbot. “I think it will fit into a price point where it’s accessible luxury.”

I agree, and predict a low price point—possibly $5,999. High margins and low turnover are the luxury store business model. Not Apple’s. If the company makes a thousand dollars or more on each high-end watch, that’s far better than what it takes home on a $700 iPhone.

Plus, it can always go higher. If Apple establishes itself as a luxury brand, it could produce watches sprinkled with diamonds, or introduce limited-edition designs, or do co-ventures with established names.

The company is still dipping its toe in the water here. Whatever number the first Edition retails for, it may not be the ceiling, but the floor.

To receive the latest jewelry news and blogs every day, subscribe to JCK’s e-newsletter here.

Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch Tagged: Alexander Wang (designer), Apple watch, Apple Watch Edition, ART, Bergdorf Goodman, United States, Watch

Visit 9to5Mac to find more special coverage of AAPL Company, United States, and Apple watch.

What do you think? Discuss "What will the Apple Watch Edition cost? Jewelry and watch people weigh in" with our community.

Results: 60% want Apple to thicken the next iPhone to improve battery life

battery-life-phil-schiller

A recent poll of over 3,100 9to5Mac readers indicates that most are not satisfied with current-generation iPhone battery life. Over 90% of respondents said that they want to see Apple improve iPhone battery life, versus less than 7% saying that “iPhone battery life and battery cases are good enough as-is.”

The split in responses interestingly suggests that Apple can safely stop prioritizing thinness over superior battery performance. A solid majority of over 60% of respondents said that Apple should thicken the next iPhone to improve its battery life, which is especially noteworthy given that there were other poll options. Over 31% said that Apple should achieve whatever battery improvements it can by improving the iPhone’s chips, while just under 2% said that Apple should instead focus on improving battery cases.

While not scientific, our poll results corroborate the views of The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims, whose article Our One Wish: Longer Battery Life suggested that making iPhones “thinner and lighter is a trend that has outlived its usefulness,” since further reductions are becoming counterproductive to the functionality users need.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices, Opinion Tagged: battery life, iPhone, poll

For more news on AAPL Company, iOS Devices, and iPhone continue reading at 9to5Mac.

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From NWA to Apple exec, Dr. Dre introduces NSFW biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ trailer [video]

Before there was his current Apple gig, there was Dr. Dre’s storied rise from the streets of Compton to global hiphop sensation and producer which eventually led to the headphone, speaker, and streaming music brand and Jimmy Iovine partnership with Beats.

This is the Hollywood version of that story which Dr. Dre co-produced.

Straight Outta Compton – Red Band Trailer with Introduction from Dr. Dre and Ice Cube (HD) (Official)
The Story of N.W.A. – In Theaters August 14th
http://www.straightouttacompton.com/

In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton tells the astonishing story of how these youngsters revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.

Starring O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, Straight Outta Compton is directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, Set It Off, The Italian Job). The drama is produced by original N.W.A. members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, who are joined by fellow producers Matt Alvarez and Tomica Woods-Wright. Will Packer serves as executive producer of the film alongside Gray.


Filed under: General Tagged: Apple, Beats, Beats Electronics, Beats Music, biopic, Compton, Corey Hawkins, culture, Dr Dre, Eazy-E, film, Ice Cube, Jason Mitchell, Jimmy Iovine, movie, NWA, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Straight Outta Compton, trailer

Continue reading more about Apple, General, and Beats at 9to5Mac.

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Grab a big iOS App designer bundle (MSRP: over $1000) for only a few bucks

From 9to5Toys Specials:
Programming-classes-cheap

Specials.9to5toys.com is running a **special** on an iOS app designer bundle that up and coming iOS app designers will likely want to take advantage of.  This is an “NYOP bundle”, meaning that people can name their own price to get 2 courses (Learn Mobile Web Design Using Bootstrap & Learn To Build Cross Platform Apps). Or, if you beat the average price, you’ll get the entire bundle (7 courses & assets). This evening that is only a few bucks plus 10% goes to charity of your choice and high bidders get a chance to win a Gold iPad Air/ iPhone 6. The bundle includes:


Filed under: How-To Tagged: Apple Inc, IDevice, iOS, iPad, iPhone, IPod Touch, MacBook, MagSafe, Secure Digital, USB flash drive

For more news on iPhone, iPad, and iOS continue reading at 9to5Mac.

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Parallels Desktop 10 Black Friday bundle: 1Password, Camtasia, CleanMyMac 2, Gemini, and more for $50 upgrade/$80 new ($285 off)

From 9to5Toys.com:
parallels-bundle

Starting this evening and running through Black Friday weekend, Parallels is running a special bundle of Mac apps for free when you upgrade to Parallels 10 for $49.99 or buy it new for $79.99. The bundled apps 1Password password manager, Camtasia screen recorder, CleanMyMac 2 file organizer/remover, Gemini file de-duplicator, Acronis True Image backup and restore software and a 2 year subscription to Parallels Access which allows you to run parallels VMs remotely on iOS and Android devices. Not a bad deal at all of you need any of these other apps.

Parallels 10 was announced in August and we reviewed it shortly thereafter noting it was the best way to run Windows and Linux VMs on a Mac.

Not sure you are into Parallels? Grab a 14 day free trial here. Just want Parallels in a shiny box? Amazon has it for $62. More info on the bundled apps below:


Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac MSRP $79.99

Parallels Desktop® 10 for Mac is the easiest, fastest, and most powerful solution for running Windows applications on a Mac without rebooting. No wonder Parallels Desktop is the #1 choice of Mac users.

1Password MSRP $49.95

1Password creates strong, unique passwords for every site, remembers them all for you, and logs you in with a single tap. You can organize your data into multiple vaults and share them securely

Camtasia MSRP $99.99

A powerful and easy-to-use screen recorder, Camtasia helps you create professional videos even if you’re not a video pro. Record your screen movements and actions easily, or import HD video from a camera or other source. Customize and edit content on Mac and Windows platforms, and share your videos with viewers from nearly any device.

CleanMyMac 2 MSRP $39.95

CleanMyMac 2 is an ingeniously simple yet surprisingly powerful application for keeping your Mac clean, organized, and free of files that slow it down.

Parallels Access MSRP $34.99

Parallels® Access™ is the fastest, simplest, and most reliable way to access all your applications, files, and computers remotely. Access a file from your home computer or cloud storage, download a favorite photo, or edit a complex document—you can be effective anytime, anywhere with just your mobile device. 2-year Subscription.

Acronis True Image for Mac MSRP $49.99

Reliable image backup and recovery of your entire system: email, music, photos, videos, documents, personal settings, bookmarks, and all your applications.

Gemini MSRP $9.99

Find and remove identical files on your Mac with Gemini, a handy duplicate-file finder that makes the process of cleaning out duplicates fun.


Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: Android (operating system), App Store (iOS), Apple Inc, Camtasia Studio, iOS, iPhone, Linux, Microsoft Windows, OS X

For more news on iPhone, iOS, and Tips and Tricks continue reading at 9to5Mac.

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iPad mini in Silver or Space Gray: $199 shipped or pickup at Walmart ($50 off)

From 9to5Toys.com:

Apple-iPad-mini-2

Today only, Walmart offers Apple’s iPad mini (non-Retina) in new condition either Space Gray or Silver for $199 shipped or ship to store. That’s $50 off Apple’s current price (though Walmart mistakenly says $100 off last year’s price) and tied with the lowest price we’ve ever seen. A nice pickup for the same price as the iPod touch. Features:

  • 7.9-inch LED-backlit display
  • A5 chip
  • 5MP iSight camera with 1080p HD video recording
  • FaceTime camera
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life *
  • Built-in Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)

These often sell out pretty quickly so you might want to jump in early.


9to5-image 2014-11-07 at 7.08.48 AM


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: 1080p, Apple Inc, Bluetooth, FaceTime, iOS, iPad, iPad mini, ISight, Retina Display, Wi-Fi

For more news on AAPL Company, iPad, and iOS continue reading at 9to5Mac.

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