Apple Watch Edition

Was the Apple Watch Edition a really thoughtful and deliberate example of anchoring?

So my (entirely lay) understanding of Anchoring is basically the first thing sets your perspective of the next thing. A tool used in negotiations very frequently.

Wikipedia says “ For example, the initial price offered for a used car sets the standard for the rest of the negotiations, so that prices lower than the initial price seem more reasonable even if they are still higher than what the car is really worth.”

So when Apple first came out with the Apple Watch there was a super expensive fancy version meant for super fancy people. ($10-15K) I know some people said this was in line with expensive watches. But for those of us who don’t regularly buy expensive watches it is a wow price point. Especially when there are other versions that do basically the same thing with a much lower price point.

Apple just came out with cheaper versions, and apparently (according to 9to5Mac) they’ve been hiding the information about the Edition version. (When I went out to find the link to the Apple page I searched Apple Watch Edition and the ad at the top was NOT the Edition page, though the first link was, which is also interesting.)

So did Apple’s marketing people specifically design this campaign this way? Anchor the price with the Apple Watch Edition versions over $10K and then bring it down and shift their campaign to say, hey, we are for everyone. And now people will look at it and go, oh well it’s WAY less than $10K I can totally afford that. Things like sales and mark-downs all play heavily on Anchoring.

I know this seems not-writing related but I think it is. The way our brains work, and how we understand them is critical. It is also a part of how the world around us is changing and projecting that into the sci-fi of the future. Sci-fi isn’t just about new watches, it is also about how we talk about, think about, and market those things. Consider a world where marketing classes are all taught by people like Dan Ariely. (I took his Coursera class a couple years ago and I don’t think it is out there anymore but it was fantastic and really educational, I highly recommend his book as well.) What does that look like? How does that shape what we do, what we buy, how we save, how we invest, what we decide to do? Do we go to Mars in that world? Do we shoot for something bigger? What are the other changes in a world that shifts that way? What other possibilities are there for it?


  1. Elizabeth

    I am my sure if it was anchoring or a marketing snafu. There are people that buy super expensive watches as a kind of status symbol. This was a super big industry that started to grow as China got rich and has really to plummet in recent years.

    But technology is not like watches. Watches are precision pieces worn for generations. One of those watch company’s slogan is something like you never own one you just take care of it for a generation.

    Who still has their first smart phone? First smart watch? And if they did, it wouldn’t be “hey, cool heirloom piece.” It would be “hey, join us in 2016”

    And these are clearly status symbol pieces when a $50 watch tells time just as well.

    1. Mariah Avix

      Marketing snafu is a good point. I don’t have any toes in the premium watch marketing land so I don’t really understand it.

      There is a market for mint condition Old Tech, but only if there is only one or two left, and only if no one is using it. So sure, stash it in a box somewhere for 30 years and maybe someone will buy it?

      I wonder what heirlooms will be in 150 years.


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