First, Apple stepped out of its comfort zone by announcing that its upcoming Apple watch would be available in more than 100 material and color combinations, which is quite unusual for the habitually streamlined electronics company. Now it looks as if Apple will be packaging the higher-end versions of its new smartwatch in a premium leather box that also acts as a charging station—not a sleek, disposable cardboard container. This will be a whole new retail and usage experience for buyers.
The Apple Watch Edition, the solid 18k gold version of Apple's forthcoming smartwatch, will be delivered in an "aniline-dyed leather" box that is "sort of ultra-suede on the inside," reports the Financial Times. This mimics the types of boxes we're used to seeing contain luxury Swiss watches from such makers as Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. But instead of containing a winder to keep that automatic watch ticking, the Apple Watch Edition box houses a magnetic charging pad and can be plugged in via a Lightning connector to charge the watch. These details were also reported in September 2014, just after the watch's initial unveiling, but it wouldn't be surprising if things have changed slightly since.
With the notable exception of the white plastic case used to hold EarPods, Apple's packaging is almost always meant to be discarded. We still expect there to be both modest and over-the-top third-party chargers and boxes for the Apple Watch, but the fact that it included one itself is an indication that Apple is thinking of the Apple Watch Edition as a luxury product different from anything it has sold before. This is no surprise considering the involvement of Angela Ahrendts (former chief executive of Burberry), Paul Deneve (former CEO of Yves Saint Laurent), and Patrick Pruniaux (former sales vice president at TAG Heuer), all hired within the last 18 months. Come Monday we could see a whole new luxury retail concept in addition to this new packaging.
When it comes to the solid gold Apple Watch Edition, there's still a question that looms even larger than worries about battery life: Will anyone actually buy it?