The Apple Store on Boylston Street in Boston boasts a remarkable spiral staircase. Photo: Joseph Thornton/Flickr CC
If you’ve ever walked into a flagship Apple Store unconvinced of the magic of Cupertino’s products, a wondrous curvy, glass staircase might have softened your psyche.
Apple’s retail outlets are almost as well known for award-winning architecture and eye-catching staircases as for the MacBooks, iPads and iPhones on sale. But Apple Stores aren’t the only places to make vertical trips seem like a magical journey.
The gold in Apple’s 18-karat watch is a standard gold alloy, not a miraculous gold/ceramic mix. Credit: Apple
All week, it’s been reported that Apple is using a “new gold” in the gold Apple Watch Edition. According to Bloomberg, Slate, Gizmodo and many others, Apple has patented a new process to create a “metal matrix composite” by mixing gold with ceramic particles.
The composite supposedly allows Apple to save on the amount of gold it uses, while making the substance super-hard and adding other amazing properties.
But according to Atakan Peker, a materials scientist and one of the co-inventors of Liquidmetal, which Apple holds an exclusive license on, it’s extremely unlikely Apple is using any kind of “new gold” for its watches.
Ladies and gentlemen, the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, which is an aspirational price anchor, according to reddit’s users. Credit: Apple
We all know that professional industry analysts often say the darndest things, but the Apple Watch has unleashed some truly muddleheaded commentary, especially from people who get paid to know better.
There are the customary and entirely predictable predictions that the Watch will fail — just as the pundits predicted the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad would bomb. This kind of commentary is so knee-jerk and silly, it’s best to just ignore. But then there’s a higher tier of analysis that says the Watch’s success depends on apps (duh, yeah) or the device’s potential for upgrades (completely wrong).
I’m interested in smarter takes on Apple’s strategy, pricing and marketing. Surprisingly, some of the most insightful commentary I’ve seen is on reddit — known generally as a salty hangout for spotty teens and weirdos. Here are some key points outlined by reddit users.
Tim Cook really, really loves the latest Apple products. Photo: Apple
The Apple Watch? It’s incredible.
The new MacBook? It’s unbelievable.
Apple’s team? Amazing!
Tim Cook is either the world’s most positive CEO or he possesses the world’s greatest poker face. Just watch the string of superlatives he unleashed during Apple’s “Spring Forward” event Monday, as rounded up in Cult of Mac’s supercut video below.
Despite its hefty price tag, the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition might actually be too cheap. Photo: Apple
The tech world is completely aghast at the price of the gold Apple Watch Edition, which starts at $10,000 but is more likely to set buyers back $17,000 (plus tax!).
The pricing is baking everyone’s noodles. We can’t wrap our heads around a super-expensive watch that will soon be obsolete and is functionally identical to a $350 model. This is not how tech works.
But that’s the point. I wrote how the high-end Apple Watch winds me up — I argued that its very existence is antithetical to Apple’s democratic values. But after further research, it’s obvious that Apple knows exactly what it’s doing, and it’s very smart — even if I still don’t like the gold watch’s enormous price tag.
The Apple Watch Edition is a classic Veblen product. The outrageous price is the whole point. And the higher it gets, the more of them Apple will sell. It might even be priced too low.
The new MacBook probably isn’t for you. Photo: Apple
The new MacBook is one of the most impressive pieces of technology Apple has unleashed in five years. It boasts a Retina display, USB-C, butterfly-hinged keyboard, Force Touch trackpad and terraced batteries. All crammed inside a body that’s smaller than the MacBook Air, made possible by a new fanless processor.
Despite being an unapologetically gorgeous piece of hardware, the new MacBook’s biggest weapon — the fanless processor — is also its greatest weakness.
Apple has placed the new MacBook in a category most people shouldn’t even consider buying, and that’s OK. The new MacBook isn’t for you and me, it’s for the future.
The super-expensive gold Apple Watch Edition is enough to get your knickers in a twist. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac
When Steve jobs co-founded Apple, his vision was to democratize technology.
At the time, computers were for governments and rich corporations. Jobs wanted everyone to have their own computer — a crazy idea back in the ’70s. The slogan for the original Macintosh was “the computer for the rest of us.”
For the next 30 years, Jobs worked hard to realize that mission. Although Apple has never made the cheapest computers, in general, the trend has been cheaper and more accessible, from the Mac to the iPhone. For most people, Apple’s products are largely affordable.
This is why the gold Apple Watch Edition — which starts at $10,000 — bugs me. It’s not a watch for the rest of us. It’s a watch for everyone but us. It’s a watch for the one percent.
For those who don’t remember, this was the second time Apple execs have taken the stage to talk Apple Watch. We got an initial preview of the Watch back in September, and today’s event was more for filling in the knowledge gaps.
While we already knew the Watch’s main selling points and the kinds of apps it would run, there was still some crucial information that needed answering. Luckily Apple did address the most important questions, but it also left certain aspects of the Watch in ambiguity.