Why no sapphire on the sports watch?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by GekkePrutser, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. GekkePrutser macrumors 6502a

    GekkePrutser

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    Ireland
    #1
    I'm just wondering why Apple is using "Ion-X" glass on its sports model, when they say in the same paragraph that Sapphire is the strongest glass ever? The steel and gold models use sapphire.

    On most Apple Watch models, the display is laminated to a machined and polished single crystal of sapphire. Next to diamond, it’s the hardest transparent material. On watches in the Sport collection, protection is provided by strengthened Ion-X glass. (from here).

    I would have thought that especially a sports watch would have benefited from strong glass as you'll be excercising with it. More likely to be banging into stuff. That makes aluminium a weird choice too as it's also much more fragile than steel.

    This might impact my decision which one to get - the stainless steel looks better in my opinion but is bound to be heavier. But if the sports one is more prone to scratches it makes it a hard decision. I wonder if the sports model would actually be the cheapest one?
     
  2. Patriot24 macrumors 68030

    Patriot24

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    #2
    I believe this to be true. The idea being that it is the most basic version for people just looking mostly at fitness tracking. As such, it would need to be the lowest-priced to compete with Fitbit and other trackers out there (although still significantly more expensive).

    The materials on the sports model appear to be less high-end than the others, as you've pointed out. Even the bands look less premium and fashion-y.

    In our world of tech, heavy = bad. In the watch industry, heavy = premium build. We're going to have to change our thinking somewhat in this brave new world of fashion-forward wearables.
     
  3. DavidTheExpert macrumors regular

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    Apr 20, 2012
    #3
    I agree that the sports line will probably also be the cheapest, but there may be another reason why they are not using sapphire on the sports line.

    Sapphire is highly resistant to scratches, but more likely to shatter under hard forces. So for the normal watch wearer, you want it to be scratch resistant in case you bump it into a wall or a table corner. But if you are, say, a bike rider, you don't want your watch to shatter when you take a tumble down that mountain trail. You could live with a couple of scratches in that case.
     
  4. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #4
    My guess is the ion treated glass is better suited for direct impacts, if that's the case that's good news for the iPhone 6 as well...
     
  5. Patriot24 macrumors 68030

    Patriot24

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    #5
    Really interesting point there. I'd be interested to hear more from Apple on their research around shatter vs. scratch in these materials.
     
  6. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #6
    I would think it's simply to keep the price of the cheaper model as low as possible.
     
  7. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

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    #7
    I can't guarantee anything but when they list products in order of steel, aluminum and gold, I'm pretty sure steel is the cheapest.
     
  8. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #8
    The aluminium model looks like the cheaper option to me.
     
  9. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

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    Oct 9, 2007
    #9
    They went to special effort to make it lighter and stronger, and listed it in the middle - consistently. No one ever lists the cheapest model after the more expensive one. Certainly not Apple.
     
  10. douglasf13 macrumors 65816

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    #10
    This may be similar to Seiko's Hardlex vs. Sapphire in their watches. The Hardlex may be slightly more scratch prone, but it is less shatter prone, which can be a good thing in a diver's watch. It's a trade off (although price and weight may also have something to do with it.)
     
  11. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    #11
    Completely agree with this except the cheapest part.
     
  12. Appl3FTW macrumors 603

    Appl3FTW

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    Nov 15, 2012
    #12
    if its the cheapest then why are the line up.. watch, watch sport, watch edition?

    shouldn't it be: :apple:watch, :apple:watch sport, :apple:watch edition?
     
  13. Squid7085 macrumors 6502a

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    Charlotte, NC
    #13
    I look at it like the other lines used to be lined up, the "iPad" and the "iPod" originally referred to the middle of the road base model. The "iPod mini" and the "iPad mini" were the cheaper named models. The Sport is without a doubt placed as the budget model.
     
  14. mcdj macrumors G3

    mcdj

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    #14
    Actual production costs are hardly the deciding factor in omitting sapphire. Sapphire is not nearly as expensive as the watch industry would like us to believe. Sapphire is the lobster of synthetic minerals. I'd be very surprised if the WATCH sapphire crystal cost more than $5 to make.

    It's also likely not about shattering. 99.9% of high end Swiss sports watches have a sapphire crystal.

    To my thinking, it's all about marketing; creating exaggerated differences to justify wildly disparate pricing.

    In terms of raw materials and assembly costs, the aluminum and steel versions of the watch are likely separated by no more than a few dollars.

    I'm guessing $400+ for the steel version.
     

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