John Gruber Predicts That High-End Apple Watch Models Could Cost $5000

John Gruber, writing at Daring Fireball:

The most fun I’ve had over the past week is speculating with friends about how much the different tiers of Apple Watch are going to cost. One thing that is absolutely clear, to me at least: when Tim Cook said the starting price is $349, that’s for the aluminum and glass Sport edition. My guesses for starting prices:

Apple Watch Sport (aluminum/glass): $349 (not a guess)
Apple Watch (stainless steel/sapphire): $999
Apple Watch Edition (18-karat gold/sapphire): $4999
In short: hundreds for Sport, a thousand for stainless steel, thousands for gold.

Most people think I’m joking when I say the gold ones are going to start at $5,000. I couldn’t be more serious. I made a friendly bet last week with friends on the starting price for the Edition models, and I bet on $9,999.

The lowest conceivable price I could see for the Edition models is $1,999 — but the gold alone, just as scrap metal, might in fact be worth more than that. Here’s a link to a forum discussion pegging the value of the gold alone, as scrap metal, of a Rolex GMT (including bracelet) at $5–6000. Just the gold alone.

Of course I’d love it if you’d go read my piece on Apple Watch (which you can do here), but John Gruber has just written the best piece you can read so far on Apple’s major new product. Seriously, his piece is must-read, and covers far more than just the price. He also addresses my concerns about where the watch sits at the intersection of fashion and technology. He also mentions that he think there’s more to the Apple Watch’s functionality than what Apple has demonstrated thus far. Gruber has just completely shaken up everyone’s expectations of Apple Watch.

This Might Be The Greatest Headline I’ve Ever Seen

No, not the one I wrote above. This one, from bizjournals.com: “Elon Musk says he won’t take SpaceX public because he wants to build a Martian city.” Basically he doesn’t want to turn his company over to investors who might not share the same lofty goals for the company as himself. Now that Steve Jobs is no longer with us, Elon Musk has got to be the most interesting man in technology and business. He’s eccentric, to be sure, but he’s clearly a gifted visionary.

Tim Cook Says, “You’re Not Our Product,” Regarding Privacy

In an interview with Charlie Rose (clip above), Tim Cook had the following to say about privacy:

You’re not our product. Our product are these and this watch and Macs and so forth, and so we run a very different company. I think everyone has to ask, “How do companies make their money?” Follow the money and if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data I think you have a right to be worried and you should really understand what’s happening to that data…

Based on his comments as a whole in the video above it’s clear he’s concerned not just about companies having access to customer data, but the government as well and highlighted iMessage encryption. I hope he’s being genuine and I really think he is. I think it’s part of why customers have a higher trust level with their data with Apple than with other companies, the recent celebrity photo scandal notwithstanding. To be sure, I don’t think anyone should be totally comfortable with any company when it comes to online data, but I appreciate that Apple at least seems to understand and agree with many privacy concerns that the general public has. And now that Cook has come out so strongly in favor of customer privacy it’ll be easy to point back to this video and hold him accountable if Apple ever does violate that trust.

[Via MacRumors]

iPhone 6 And 6 Plus Pre-Order Sales Topped Four Million Units In Twenty-Four Hours

From Apple’s press release earlier today:

Apple® today announced a record number of first day pre-orders of iPhone® 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the biggest advancements in iPhone history, with over four million in the first 24 hours. Demand for the new iPhones exceeds the initial pre-order supply and while a significant amount will be delivered to customers beginning on Friday and throughout September, many iPhone pre-orders are scheduled to be delivered in October. Additional supply of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available to walk-in customers on Friday, September 19 at 8:00 a.m. local time at Apple retail stores. Customers are encouraged to arrive early or order online from the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com) to pickup in-store or receive an estimated delivery date. Both models will also be available on Friday from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, additional carriers and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

“iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are better in every way, and we are thrilled customers love them as much as we do,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Pre-orders for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus set a new record for Apple, and we can’t wait to get our best iPhones yet into the hands of customers starting this Friday.”

Staggering numbers. I don’t think Apple released a press release last year announcing pre-order numbers for the iPhone 5s and 5c, but two years ago they announced that iPhone 5 pre-orders had topped two million. That really puts things in perspective. One wonders how many of those four million this year were pre-ordered by Android users who were just waiting for Apple to release an iPhone with larger screen size options. During the event Apple kept using the word “bigger” as a not-so-subtle reference to the larger screen sizes on the new iPhones. In light of this, bigger really takes on new meaning for Apple. My guess is that Apple’s going to have a monster holiday quarter.

After Re-Watching Tuesday’s Apple Event, I Wrote Down A Few Notes

I usually watch the Apple Event twice. Once during the live-stream and once later to catch things I missed the first time. This was particularly necessary this time since the live-stream was so fraught with failures this year, not to mention a foreign language translator that was inexplicably in the mix during most or all of the iPhone 6 introduction. Below are a few things that jumped out at me during this re-watch. While writing, I’ve got U2’s Songs Of Innocence playing on my Apple TV in the background.

• The Flint Center is a gorgeous venue. I hope they do events there in the future.

• The intro video certainly set the tone well for the event. There’s a lot of confidence expressed there, and it does a little bit of evoking the “Here’s to The Crazy Ones” ad.

• I noticed Tim Cook specifically used the phrase, “customer satisfaction,” not, “customer sat” as he’s accustomed to doing. I wonder if he’s become self-conscious of how everyone makes jokes about “sat.”

• When discussing the diagonal screen sizes of the new iPhones, Phil jokingly said, “And if you don’t know, here’s their sizes.” Apple is aware that we all see these part leaks days and weeks ahead of the actual Apple events.

• The iPhone 6 Plus has a custom keyboard when in landscape featuring actual buttons for cut, copy, and paste. Neat! I wonder if iPad will get this feature in iOS 8.

• As always Phil took great pride in talking about how the new iPhone is even thinner. I’ve got to wonder though - have we reached peak thinness? There does becoming a point at which you reach diminishing returns for thinness. At some point it’s going to have to just level out. Are we there now?

• Interesting that Apple chose to invite a game developer called Super Evil Megacorp to do a demo given that that’s how some of Apple’s detractors view Apple itself. Was that coincidence lost on Apple or did they embrace it?

• I know they’ve been using the name “iSight” to refer to the rear camera on the iPhone for a while now, but as a long-time Mac user it still sounds odd to me. I still think of that neat, barrel-shaped camera Apple used to sell that mounted on the top of iMacs and Cinema Displays to provide the functionality now provided by the iPhone’s FaceTime camera.

• Speaking of the iPhone’s cameras, it’s insane how good they keep getting. I took two cameras on vacation with me this summer: my iPhone 5c and my Canon G12. I wound up using the iPhone 80% of the time because of how portable it is, and it’s crazy how good most of those photos came out. With the exception of the pro market, the camera companies are really getting marginalized by smartphone makers.

• I still hate the “2001” commercial for the iPhone 6. Yes, it’s cooler once you know it’s Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, but it’s just grating to hear two guys hum Also Sprach Zarathustra. That said, Fallon and Timberlake did a great job with the “Health” commercial. Makes me wonder if there are a whole series of these that will air that we haven’t seen yet.

• Tim Cook, when introducing Apple Pay, said, “Our goal is to replace this,” referring to the traditional wallet. An ambitious goal, and he may largely achieve it one day, but I would think some laws would have to change before you can somehow upload your driver’s license into Passbook.

• Speaking of Apple Pay, I’m even more impressed with it after watching the presentation again. This could be a major deal in terms of preventing fraud. If Apple Pay had been in place (and used by everyone), the Target breach would never have happened since all Target would have had from each customer was a one-use transaction number that contained no actual credit or debit card (or customer) information. This could be huge, if people actually use it.

• What’s the storage capacity on Apple Watch?

• Kevin Lynch mentioned that you can store music on Apple Watch, but what’s the point? There’s no headphone jack. Is this for Bluetooth streaming?

• I’m not sold on the third-party apps for Apple Watch. I get that they’re inevitable, but at some point why would I want to use an app on Apple Watch when I have an iPhone in my pocket? Developers have to write their Watch OS apps to have a very specific purpose that makes sense on Apple Watch, but less so on iPhone.

• Will Apple Watch have some health functionality that doesn’t require iPhone? During the part of the health video there’s a couple of scenes of two women running. They’re obviously wearing Apple Watches, but it’s pretty clear from what they’re wearing that they don’t have iPhones on their persons. Is this an authentic representation of how Apple Watch will work for running? It makes sense, but Apple didn’t specifically say.

• I really like the gamification aspect of the health features of Apple Watch. It might actually encourage me to get more exercise. Could be a big deal.

• Does the screen always stay on? I think it does based on the way they demoed Apple Watch, but I don’t think they expressly address it. One of the things I liked least about wearing an iPod nano as a watch is that you had to press the sleep/wake button to see the time. It would automatically sleep after a few seconds.

• I couldn’t help but think back to Steve Jobs’s introduction of the original iPhone when Tim Cook wrapped up his Apple Watch presentation by talking about its use as a timepiece, a communication device, and a fitness device. “A phone, an internet communicator, and a touch-screen iPod. Are you getting it?

• Can I use Apple Pay with iWatch if I don’t have an iPhone 6? We know Apple Watch is compatible with the 5 and 5c. And we know that Apple Pay requires Touch ID. Will Apple Watch let you get past the Touch ID requirement?

Apple Watch Could Top Out At $1200

John Biggs, writing at TechCrunch:

A jewelry contact familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that the gold, 18-karat version of the Apple Watch could cost around $1,200 retail when it launches in January. This has been corroborated, based on size and weight, by jewelers familiar with the material Apple is using to make its Apple Watch Edition pieces. It should be noted that this is an estimate and the piece could come in well below that price.

Could be true. My guess has been $999 for the top-of-the-line Apple Watch Edition version. It’ll be interesting to see the public reaction. I think the general public heard $349 without realizing that it’s the starting price. There’s another interesting bit of speculation further down in the article:

What does this mean? It suggests an interesting move by the company to turn Apple Stores into luxury destinations. While I’m sure Prada and Louis Vuitton are clamoring to be given access to Apple’s unique band connectors, the upside for a more fashionable, luxury-leaning Apple Watch display in stores means the company will control quality and, more important, control profits on band upgrades.

Tim Cook’s Apple. Imagine being transported in time from the opening of Apple’s first retail store in 2001 to early 2015 when Apple Watch goes on sale. 

Could Apple Be Planning A Gold MacBook Air?

Jack March, writing at A Tech Website (no really, that’s the name of the website):

The most fascinating part of this report is that Apple is also planning to change the colours for the first time with an Aluminium MacBook,  the source says that Apple is planning to add Space Grey and Gold colours to their MacBook lineup, which would be consistent with the colours on the iPhone 6.

Keep in mind, this is only a rumor. It’s not a stretch to imagine Apple wanting it’s consumer laptops to match the color options of its iPhones. And if you’ll recall, the black MacBook was quite popular years ago (Apple even charged a premium for that color), so Space Grey makes sense. I’m already in the camp that thinks the gold iPhone (the “Threepio” as I call it). Is a little over-the-top. A gold MacBook Air would really be in-your-face. I’m skeptical, but we’ll see!

Apple’s Website Struggles Under iPhone 6 Pre-Order Demand

Tom Warren, writing at The Verge:

Pre-ordering a new iPhone is never an easy process. You wake up at 3AM if you’re on the East Coast, stay up late on the West Coast, or simply eat your breakfast if you’re in Europe. But this year it has been an especially tricky process for Apple’s most loyal customers in the US. Apple’s online store in the US was down for two hours and 25 minutes, leaving customers who stayed up late rather frustrated.

Of course, this happens every year. Did you get your pre-order in? I’m not due for an upgrade right now, so I was soundly asleep last night. :-)

Apple Pay: First Impressions

Apple Pay was the third major announcement at Apple’s big media event on Tuesday, alongside Apple Watch and iPhone 6. The combination of near-field communication (NFC) and an Apple payment system have been one of those persistent rumors for years, and they’ve finally been realized.

During the event Apple attempted to make the case that paying with plastic is an inconvenient and cumbersome process, and they showed a video of a woman emptying her purse to get to her card in her wallet. Frankly, I thought they overplayed this point. Granted, I don’t carry a purse, but I don’t consider it difficult to get my wallet out and pull out my debit card.

The technology and security angle was the far more interesting case. Tim Cook talked about how the technology in our cards is decades old, fallible, and relatively insecure. I’m leaning heavily on Apple’s talking points on its website because this concept and technology is so new to me. Says Apple:

Every time you hand over your credit or debit card to pay, your card number and identity are visible. With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual credit and debit card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element, a dedicated chip in iPhone. These numbers are never stored on Apple servers. And when you make a purchase, the Device Account Number alongside a transaction-specific dynamic security code is used to process your payment. So your actual credit or debit card numbers are never shared with merchants or transmitted with payment.

Assuming it works as advertised, I can certainly see this being popular with retail workers. No more checking for ID or swiping a faulty card over and over again. No more manual card entry either: Apple Pay either works or it doesn’t. Of course it’s always possible that someone will figure out how to hack Apple’s technology, it certainly sounds like a secure way to make a transaction. Works in retail stores and via select apps and websites.

Apple doesn’t save your transaction information. With Apple Pay, your payments are private. Apple doesn’t store the details of your transactions so they can’t be tied back to you. Your most recent purchases are kept in Passbook for your convenience, but that’s as far as it goes.

This is huge, and assuming Apple is being truthful, it’s a relief to hear. I don’t know how other purveyors of similar technology handle this data, but I can think of some other companies I wouldn’t feel comfortable entrusting this level of personal data to.

Speaking of Passbook, that’s where your card or cards will be stored. It will default to the first debit card you enter, but you can choose in Passbook which card you want to use. Seems like something you need to stay on top of to prevent accidentally using your personal and work cards at the wrong time. Honestly, when I first heard them describe this aspect of Apple Pay my first reaction was, “Finally! A use for Passbook.” Apple also mentioned that Apple Watch is equipped with NFC, so you can just wave your watch at the NFC reader instead of your iPhone if you are so equipped.

Apple Pay seems like something that’s either going to be a bust, or is going to make Apple billions of dollars. It’ll be interesting to see if it takes off. If it does, it will certainly cause people to change their paying habits. Apple makes a big deal about getting away from using plastic, but I suspect people aren’t going to stop carrying their debit cards in their wallets anytime soon. After all, what if your phone’s battery dies? Not to mention not every retailer is on board yet, though Apple certainly had a big list of retail and financial firms to tout as partners at the event. Though iPhone 6 will be out next week, Apple Pay won’t launch until October, and then the grand experiment will begin. Apple is certainly not the first to market with this kind of payment scheme, but I suspect that if anyone’s going to succeed at it, it’s Apple.

What Star Trek Would Have Looked Like In Cinerama Widescreen

Nick Acosta, writing at cargocollective.com:

Forty eight years ago this week Star Trek debuted its first episode on NBC. The show, like all other shows at the time, was broadcast in the old style 4x3 aspect ratio. Using HD screen caps from my friends at Trekcore.com, I created this project of what the show would have looked like in Cinerama widescreen. As a kid the show always felt bigger and more epic than it appears to me as an adult. I was able to create these shots by waiting for the camera to pan and then I stitched the separate shots together. The result is pretty epic. It reminds me of the classic science fiction movies of the 50’s and 60’s. Suddenly the show has a “Forbidden Planet” vibe. Other shots remind me of how director Robert Wise would use a camera technique to keep the foreground and background elements in focus.

The result is stunning, and you definitely need to click here to go to the site where Nick has lots of examples. Also, if you haven’t watched Star Trek: The Original Series in HD, you really need to. The restoration work they did was incredible.