Apple debuts $17,000 watch, some waiting for killer app

Mon Mar 9, 2015 6:51pm EDT
 
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By Edwin Chan and Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) launched its long-awaited watch on Monday, including yellow or rose gold models with sapphire faces costing up to $17,000, but some investors questioned whether Chief Executive Tim Cook's first product would be a breakaway hit.

Apple's first new device since Cook became CEO will be available for order on April 10 and in stores on April 24, including chic boutiques in Paris, London and Tokyo.

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

Apple shares barely budged, however. 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. Apple in September gave a sneak peek of the watch which included many features shown on Monday.

"I think there's a niche market for these kind of Apple tech people who love Apple and will buy anything they come out with. But I just don't know if it's going to be the power product that everyone's looking for," said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust Company in Atlanta, Georgia, who described Wall Street as "scratching its head".

Members of the style establishment, in Paris for shows from the glittering 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 Patek Philippe Nautilus at just over $42,000 on 11main.com, inspired plenty of jibes on social media, including many who questioned whether it would become outdated and compared the price to a car's. "Wonder what kind of gas mileage it gets," asked Twitter user Christopher Caruso.

Nevertheless many made clear they wanted it. "My birthday is gonna rock this year... :-) #applewatch," wrote Jay Runquist.   Continued...

 
Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the Apple Watch during an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Robert Galbraith