Apple has "studied platinum watch casings" according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal. However, it’s not expected to announce the new case during today’s "Spring Forward" event. The WSJ also corroborates rumors that Apple will be redesigning its stores to include a space where customers can try on the watch by appointment.
It’s likely that Apple will be limiting the initial buying experience to its own stores, where the company has total control over the sales experience. Reuters reports that Apple resellers, like Best Buy, may not carry the watch at launch, with Macy’s, Saks, Bloomingdale's, and Barney’s expressing the same. Apple held a private event at the luxury retailer Colette in Paris back in September, hinting at a possible store-within-a-store retail strategy for Apple Watch Edition sales. Reuters notes that Nordstrom has been in discussions with Apple.
Will a gold strap be announced today?
The Apple Watch will go on sale in April with 38mm and 42mm cases made from aluminum, stainless steel, and a scratch resistant 18-karat gold. Platinum is the obvious omission, a material commonly used by luxury watch makers such as Rolex and Omega.
Apple Watch strap materials include fluoroelastomer (rubber), leather, and stainless steel. While a gold strap hasn’t been announced yet, some, including Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, have speculated that it could be announced today and push the Watch Edition price to the $20,000 mark. The Watch Sport model features hardened Ion-X glass and a composite (plastic) back, while both the stainless steel Watch and gold Watch Edition models use sapphire crystal and ceramic backs. Apple has yet to detail prices, only announcing a starting price of $349.
Apple’s event kicks off at 10AM PT / 1PM ET / 5PM GMT, and you’ll be able to follow along with our live blog for up-to-the-second reports.