#Trending: Apple’s ongoing attempt to make a luxury smartwatch

Cupertino takes a second run-up at the high end
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We've talked a lot about the tension between fashion and function in smartwatches, and it's fair to say that manufacturers are still trying to find where that balance lies.

The new Apple Watch Series 2 doesn't change things up much when it comes to looks, but adds a raft of new features: Built-in GPS, proper waterproofing, a faster processor and brighter screen.

It's interesting that Apple is focused so much on health and fitness with its new smartwatch, with little attention put on other features and apps during this week's keynote.

Apple also quietly withdrew its ludicrously expensive 18-karat gold Watch, replacing it with a new premium ceramic model that's eye-catching but not quite as eye-wateringly pricey.

The gold watch was Apple's pitch to the high-end luxury market, and while its omission from Series 2 suggests it wasn't a big hit (is anyone really surprised?), Apple's still keen to point out that its smartwatches are outpacing traditional timepieces.

On stage, Tim Cook whipped out a rankings sheet to show that Apple was the second-biggest watch seller in 2015 in terms of revenue, behind Rolex.

But what next, with the gold Watch dead and so much focus now on fitness? Is Apple still as concerned about luxury? Does it need to be?

WEAR: Hermès

#Trending: Apple’s ongoing attempt to make a luxury smartwatch

As long as its smartwatch is only available in square, it seems unlikely that Apple has a chance of cracking the luxury sector. So until that changes the best thing Jony Ive and co can do is focus on other aspects - like the straps. We've seen Apple launch quite a lot of bands since the launch of the original models, the most notable of which has been the Hermès Collection. The parnership has brought some really beautiful straps to the Watch that turn it into a more fancy-looking wearable. Paired with a stainless steel model, it makes for a looker.


#Trending: Apple’s ongoing attempt to make a luxury smartwatch

As previously mentioned, Apple's extravagant gold Watch has bit the dust, usurped by a new ceramic model that costs a tenth of the price - but will still deprive you of a fair chunk of change. The new ceramic watch costs , so it's clearly targeted at the higher end, but not so much that you'll feel prone to ridicule when friends ask how much you paid for it.

Essential reading: Apple Watch Series 2 - first impressions

Apple's trying to crack a difficult market with an uncrackable watch, but it probably still has a way to go before it has a better chance of winning people over. Because smartwatches aren't like traditional statement pieces that last for decades, they evolve. And let's face it - the ceramic Series 4 will probably look so much better.

SQUARE: Gold Edition#Trending: Apple’s ongoing attempt to make a luxury smartwatch

You have to admire Apple's boldness in asking $10,000 (and up to $17,000, in fact) for an 18-karat, first-gen smartwatch that would undoubtedly be outdated come a year or so's time. Our thoughts are with all the people suffering major buyer's remorse this week, but really you should have seen it coming.

TAGGED Smartwatches

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Hugh Langley


Now at Business Insider, Hugh originally joined Wareable from TechRadar where he’d been writing news, features, reviews and just about everything else you can think of for three years.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider.

Prior to Wareable, Hugh freelanced while studying, writing about bad indie bands and slightly better movies. He found his way into tech journalism at the beginning of the wearables boom, when everyone was talking about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift was merely a Kickstarter campaign - and has been fascinated ever since.

He’s particularly interested in VR and any fitness tech that will help him (eventually) get back into shape. Hugh has also written for T3, Wired, Total Film, Little White Lies and China Daily.

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