Yesterday, Apple presented its smartwatch and I didn't really care, until Tweets about the Apple Watch Edition hit my Timeline. The writing has been on the wall (and in the Apple rumour blogs), that the golden watch will cost 10,000$. But it took the actual announcement until I realised how much the fact that this product from this company exists disturbs me.
The Apple Watch is after all just a smartwatch like all the others. Probably a little better than all the Android Wear devices out there. 350 to 500 $ for a smartwatch is a reasonable price. I'm not interested in this product, but I'm sure it'll sell well and be very useful to lots of people.
Apple products were always expensive, but they were never as unreasonably priced as some people taunted the company and it's customers. Apple products offer some kind of "affordable luxury". If it's a MacBook Air for 1000$, an iPhone for 600$ or an iPod for 200$, for most people that's a big investment, but it's affordable. They even had something almost equalising to them: from the school kid to the CEO, everyone uses the same phones and laptops.
The Apple Watch Edition changes that. It creates a distance. Gold has no value in and of itself. It's not a material that enables the creation of sturdy yet light mobile computers. It's not a material necessary for building processors and chips. It's just expensive because it's expensive. And so the Apple Watch Edition is a product that is expensive just to be expensive. It's not designed to be a beautiful computer, it's desigend to be a beautiful thing. It's exclusive and so it excludes people.
A company that creates a products for the upper class like this also creates a distance to some part of their customers. Apple can't sell this watch for rich people without causing a conflict. I can't take their efforts for more equality serious. I can't take their interest to improve the working conditions in their factories in China serious. I can't take their efforts to bring iPads to school kids serious.
My next laptops is probably still going to be a MacBook. But this is the first time I'm deeply doubting my relationship to this company. I doubt that Apple can be the company for everyone and the company for the upper class at the same time.
And just because of a golden watch.