Apple is holding a press event this week, but don’t look for the Apple Watch release date to happen along with it. The proverbial “iWatch” as it’s become popularly known is still in the late stages of development, and Apple only showed it off last month in order to give third party application developers enough time to get to work so there’s a wide array of apps available on the day it launches. In the mean time a few key details have been shared, including screen size and price, and we’re not convinced those details won’t change before launch.
Tim Cook spelled out that the Apple Watch will have a price tag starting at $349 and will come in 1.5 and 1.7 inch screen sizes. As a side note, we’re not sure they can properly be called “screen sizes” considering the nature of the product. Does a smart watch have a screen, or will it still be known as a watch face? Considering there’s a whole generation of younger people who have never worn a watch as an adult, and they’ll be one of the key demographics for the iWatch, it’s possible the vocabulary will be created from scratch.
But back to that price point. If Apple is indeed locked in at $349, there was no reason for Cook to spill the beans on that. It makes the product sound expensive. It opens the door for the industry’s serial copycatters to come up with something that looks like the Apple Watch but does one-fourth as much and costs one-half as much. The only real reason to announce the pricing ahead of time is to get a reaction from the buying public, to see if a high price point like the one announced can really stick, and to decide whether to revise it downward by the time of the release date. After all, if $349 sounds expensive to you, then a last minute drop to $299 or even $329 sounds like a relative bargain in comparison.
The 1.5 and 1.7 inch sizes don’t sound like they’re locked in either. Because such things are measured diagonally, the two sizes are a lot different from each other than the 0.2″ would suggest. But they both sound larger than a small-built or skinny person would want to wear. So we wouldn’t be shocked if that 1.5 inch model ends up being something just a little smaller by the time of launch.
The reason none of these changes would shock us is that Apple is working with a significant amount of lead time. Tim Cook says the release date will be in early 2015, which could be anywhere from a few months to half a year from now. Just about anything with the iWatch could change between now and then, including the possibility that it could end up being called “iWatch” after all, though we wouldn’t bank on that one as much as we would at the idea of that price point coming down at least by a small fraction. Look for Cook to offer some kind of “good news” about the product this week, even if it’s just a brief look at a promising third party app.