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Apple is reportedly increasing security ahead of the release of its 18-carat gold smartwatch
Apple is reportedly increasing security ahead of the release of its 18-carat gold smartwatch

Apple learns from jewellery stores

With the announcement that it will release an 18-carat gold model of its smartwatch, Apple’s retail outlets may soon start to resemble those of traditional jewellery stores.

The technology giant confirmed last year that one of the three variations of its Apple Watch – which is expected to be released in April – will feature an 18-carat rose or yellow gold case.

Although the company was forthcoming on the details about its new device, no comments were made on the pricing for the high-end Apple Watch Edition. However, many speculated the collection could be priced in the thousands, rivalling luxury watch brands such as Rolex. 

According to technology news website 9to5Mac, the introduction of the high-end smartwatch has led the computer company to change some of its retail practices by implementing security – and possibly selling – methods similar to those traditionally used by jewellery and watch retailers.

One of the reported new security measures includes the installation of custom-designed safes that will be used to secure and charge Apple Watch inventory and demonstration units overnight. Apple was also said to be working on special gold weighing scales used to measure returned Apple Watch Edition units.

Apple stores are likely to use jewellery displays to showcase the Apple Watch
Apple stores are likely to use jewellery displays to showcase the Apple Watch

“Apple wants to ensure that no gold is removed from the units prior to replacement/return as the gold material is worth a substantial amount of money on secondary markets,” the 9to5Mac report stated. “The fact that Apple is working on scales further indicates that there will be a notable amount of gold in the watch and that the device will be pricey.”

Other ways in which Apple stores would reportedly mimic jewellery retailers was through the use of display tables showcasing the watches and allowing customers to test the product with different watchbands prior to purchase.

Additionally, a separate article published by 9to5Mac suggested that a distinctive sales process would likely be introduced to differentiate the higher-priced Edition collection from the lower-priced Apple Watch variations. “[This could include] a brief ship-to-store delay before in-store pickup, a special customisation/fitting/personal tutorial session, or perhaps an in-store gift-wrapping/fancy bagging option to make the Edition buying experience a little twee,” the report read.

Justifying price

Given the rate at which technology progresses, some industry commentators have questioned whether the Apple Watch would become obsolete within a matter of years, and, as a result, whether the company could justify a four-digit price tag and compete with traditional watchmakers.

According to various media sources, industry commentator John Gruber suggested the periodical replacement of the Apple Watch’s internal processing chip as a solution. It was proposed this would also likely lead to an appreciation in the value of the original versions of the gold-case Apple smartwatches.

While it’s difficult to predict how the above will affect the traditional watch and jewellery industry, it’s arguably clear that Apple is no longer solely competing in the technology retail sphere.

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Wednesday, 19 September, 2018 07:49pm
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