It’s been twenty three months since Tim Cook and Jony Ive introduced Apple Watch to the world. Meaning it’s now only one week until its successor will get its anticipated first public outing.
When Apple launched the Watch Edition alongside its range of more modestly priced wristwear they stretched their brand more than at any point in their past. Price points ranging from £8,000 to £13,500 (today’s RRPs) placed them firmly in the high luxury sphere.
While luxury technology is a growing trend, the two sides of this particular coin have a natural conflict. One of the traditional characteristics of a luxury product is the crafted quality which means the item will endure. Luxury is anti-disposable. Whilst technology, by its very nature is outdated quickly. Technology is innovation and evolution.
A common customer request in the world of luxury technology is for brands to provide the ability for an older model to be upgradable to the latest electronics. But this strategy is fraught with challenges – once you commit to making a product upgradable you immediately constrain your design team.
Despite the challenges with designing for upgradability, I would expect this topic to have been heavily debated in the bowels of Apple HQ.
Apple have a knack of delivering on customer experience and service, and it would not surprise me if Watch Edition customers were offered some kind of upgrade or part exchange to Watch 2 Edition.
I’m still surprised that nothing was announced or committed back in the fall of 2014 to encourage willing, but nervous prospects that their large investment would be protected.
Tag Heuer Connected customers received this type of reassurance, with a promised refurbishment to a traditional analogue luxury watch after two years.
However, another challenge Apple would have to overcome is managing the millions of customers who bought an entry level Watch. People are not stupid, and once it’s known that a Watch Edition can be upgraded the broader consumer base would demand the same thing.
If I was Mr. Cook I would love to be announcing on September 7th that Watch Edition customers will be able to upgrade their current model to Watch 2 technology for a fee of ~£1,000. And this Service will be available one month before Watch 2 goes on sale.
Over to you Mr. Cook.