Apple watch China-friendly

Updated: 2015-03-10 11:22

By William Hennelly in New York(China Daily USA)

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Apple watch China-friendly

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the Apple Watch during an Apple event in San Francisco on Monday.[Photo/Agencies]

Apple launched its new smartwatch on Monday, with a couple of nods toward China.

CEO Tim Cook opened the presentation discussing the opening of another Apple Store in China. The new watch also will be able to send sketched images, which wrote "will be perfect for Chinese characters to be used as the basis of an IM conversation".

"Apple Watch is the most personal device we have ever created - it's not just with you, it's on you," Cook said. "Since what you wear is an expression of who you are, we designed Apple Watch to appeal to a whole variety of people with different tastes and different preferences."

The watch will be available for preorder on April 10, and will reach consumers in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and US on April 24.

It comes in two sizes, with the Sport model priced at $349 and $399 and the midrange version starting at $549. The high-end Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000.

"The high-end model they should call the "China" watch as it's clearly targeted at emerging markets, aspirational (see above: China) consumers who are looking to spread their feathers (flaunt their individualism and wealth) with what has become the ultimate self-expressive benefit brand: Apple," Scott Galloway of L2 told Business Insider's Henry Blodget.

L2 is a digital think tank founded by Galloway, who is also a marketing professor at the New York University Stern School of Business, where he teaches brand strategy and luxury marketing.

China is expected to account for as much as half of global luxury goods sales by 2025, according to The Guardian of London. Apple, which is the top-selling smartphone in China, saw a 70% increase in revenue in the first fiscal quarter from China, more than a fifth of its worldwide revenue.

Apple is China's most coveted luxury brand, according to the Hurun Report's recent Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey 2015. Consumer electronic devices, led by Apple, were the preferred gifts by both men and women, overtaking LV and last year's No 1 Hermes, which dropped to seventh. In that same report, the top gift preferred by men was watches; it was jewelry for women.

The November issue of Vogue China was the platform for the Apple watch's first magazine cover.

Angelica Cheung, editorial director of Vogue China, said that "as the very first fashion publication to feature the recently launched Apple Watch on its cover, Vogue China is following in the Vogue tradition of moving with the times, giving our readers the first glimpse of a pioneering piece of technology that also doubles as a highly covetable fashion accessory".

In a nod to both fashion and technology, Cook shared the stage model Christy Turlington Burns, who used the watch to train for a marathon, and Apple engineers, who showed how to send drawings, pictures and even heartbeats.

Investors and analysts agreed that Apple would sell millions to fans but questioned whether it had a "killer app" that would engage a broader audience.

Members of the style establishment, in Paris for shows from the likes of Chanel, Givenchy and Hermes, mostly said they saw the watch as a gadget, not this season's must-have accessory.

The Edition price tag, which is inexpensive compared with a Pate Philippe Nautilus at just over $42,000 on, inspired plenty of jibes on social media, including many who questioned whether it would become outdated and compared the price to a car's. "Wonder what kind of gas mileage it gets," asked Twitter user Christopher Caruso.

China actually saw a homegrown smart watch before Apple's debuted.

Huawei Technologies Co. unveiled a 42-millimeter (1.6-inch) diameter luxury watch at an event in Barcelona, Spain, on March 1, before the March 2 opening of the Mobile World Congress.

Agencies contributed to the reporting.