Good to see some here (patchyThePirate, for example) catching onto my idea (from many months ago) of an iWatch with multi-purpose bands. Here are my compiled thoughts on the iWatch I've been posting here and elsewhere all along.
In the realm of dedicated watches, the world's first GPS watch cost $2300. This watch uses GPS signals to synch your watch to the local time as you cross time zones (versus using the radio signals normally used to synch high-end watches with an atomic clock as you change time zones). $2300 for a watch that tells you the time, has some chronograph features, and updates itself as you cross time zones. How do you get $2300 for a watch with no more functionality than one included app on any modern smartphone? Two words: Style. Materials.
Apple's iWatch will perform hundreds of functions. Add some Apple style and you boost the price. Make a model incorporating precious metals, like gold or platinum and you boost the price higher. But Apple has a third potential means of boosting the price. Apple can, and as widely speculated, will, add some sophisticated health monitoring functions not yet available on any available consumer wearable.
Now imagine if Apple were to add some of these health monitoring sensors not in the body of the iWatch, but in easily attachable bands. A diabetic would buy the band with blood glucose monitoring sensors, and pay a pretty penny for it, perhaps subsidized by insurance. A sports enthusiast/athlete will buy the sports band with sensors to monitor UV exposure, pulse rate, etc. With interchangeable bands, an iWatch owner could switch from a sports band to a more formal band for wearing the iWatch when going out in the evening. If the bands incorporate the batteries, then switching to another band gets you a full charge, and the switched out band gets set down on the included inductive charger.
Now how much would you pay?
In the fullness of time, all of the traditional watch makers are vulnerable. The utility of a watch as a timepiece has already been wholly disrupted by technology. Gone are the days when people check the time 100 times a day; smartphones with reminders and appointment calendars inform us of our time-based commitments, and these devices are looked at for a variety of purposes throughout the day, with the time ever present on screen. Smart watches will first supplant ordinary watches as a more functional fashion accessory. And with smart watch functionality soon becoming expected, luxury smart watches will come on the scene where they will displace those luxury watches whose functionality extends only to telling the time and a few other time-based functions. A technology ecosystem will be a critical part of the picture, and this is something none of the existing luxury watchmakers can bring to the market in any meaningful way compared with the technology giants currently moving into this space. Within 10 years, the notion of a luxury watch will be synonymous with luxury smart watch and the Rolexes of the world will be on the path to extinction.
Advice to the luxury watch makers: partner with tech giants, if they'll even have you.
+1 - I've already written enough in other posts on this topic for people to see what I think this product will be.
However for those too bothered to look a quick summary. I also believe the iWatch will be a 2-part accessory to iOS devices:
a) watch-styled face for QuickLook and reaction buttons (yes-no-later-sleep to iOS events, reminders, etc.) designed by Apple for people that want this functionality;
b) separate bands - both as fashion/individuality statements and additional functionality through integrated tech sensors in the bands themselves. Whether that tech interfaces with the Apple watch-face, or directly with an iOS device, or possibly used "stand-alone" attached to an existing watch-face that you already have and connecting only to an iOS device over BT4 or NFC.
I just can't see Apple getting into the business of fickle fashion, and determining the complete final look for something that many people consider jewelry, status or fashion statement. Leave that to Gucci, Breitling, Diesel, Fossil, Burberry, YSL... Mattel and Disney... or a smart hospital bracelet supplier.
I expect a price range for the "smart parts" to be between $150 - 400, and bands to go into the $1000s depending on material, bling and added functionality due to sensors.