On Apple Watch pricing and strap swapping

There's a lot we don't know about Apple Watch. We don't know how much it will cost, beyond the $349 price tag Apple's hung on the entry-level Sport model. We don't know if any other straps will be made available, including gold links to match the gold Edition. We don't know if we'll be able to buy additional straps separately so we can take advantage of the stellar strap-swapping mechanism Apple has included in all the collections. We know the broad strokes, but we know few if any of the fine details.

Our own Kevin Michaluk, a watch enthusiast most of his life, has been guessing/hoping the Apple Watch Edition will start at $10K and could go higher. In point of fact, he wants it too:

Personally, I'm hoping Gruber's initial prediction is on par with Apple's official Watch Edition pricing. A $10,000 (or even more expensive) Apple Edition Watch is an Apple watch I'll actually want to wear. And, strapped to my wrist at that price point, I hope it will give me the same emotional pleasure as the other traditional luxury watches I already own.

Gruber — John Gruber of Daring Fireball — restated his own predictions today:

I can see which way the wind is blowing. For months I've been asking friends who might know — or know someone else who might know, or even know someone who knows someone who might know — whether my guess of $5,000 is too high for the Edition starting price. The answer has always been "No". But the way I've been told "No" has given me the uneasy feeling that I've been asking the wrong question. I should have been asking if $5,000 is too low.I now think Edition models will start around $10,000 — and, if my hunch is right about bands and bracelets, the upper range could go to $20,000.

Gruber's not certain if the bands will be sold separately, or if they'll be used as pricing tiers. It's possible they'll be both.

Jordan Kahn of 9to5Mac believes they'll be available separately as well:

Apple does in fact plan to sell an array of bands as separate accessories for the Apple Watch at launch, according to sources. Claims have recently circulated that Apple might solely sell the Watch in pre-assembled collections, reducing their potential for customization, but our sources say that Apple's retail outlets will be stocked on day one with individual straps so customers can easily mix and match the looks of their Watches.

A range of price points and the ability to "upgrade" straps makes the kind of sense that does. We won't know for sure, however, until Apple makes with the final announcements.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.