Apple might be launching a crazily cheap new gold Apple Watch

Apple Watch WatchPlate gold platedWatch PlateThe gold Apple Watch could be about to become far less exclusive.

After “tepid” initial sales of the Apple Watch, Apple is considering launching a new, far cheaper gold-colour version of its debut smartwatch, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

The analyst has a strong track record on Apple: He was spot on with his predictions about the iPhone 5S, for example. We first saw this most recent analyst’s note over at 9to5Mac.

Right now, gold Apple Watches are seriously exclusive, starting at £8,000 ($US10,000), and are available in both yellow- and rose-gold. But Ming-Chi Kuo thinks that Apple may be about to launch a gold version of the Apple Watch Sport — the Cupertino company’s cheapest model of smartwatch. In comparison, the Apple Watch Sport sells for £299 ($US349). Needless to say, it won’t be actual gold, but rather an anodised version of the standard aluminium body.

Like the luxurious Apple Watch Edition, it would also come in yellow and rose-gold versions — matching the existing gold iPhone, and the rose gold model many expect the company to launch in the autumn.

There is mounting speculation as to how well the Apple Watch is performing ahead of Apple’s quarterly earnings on Tuesday. Analysts believe that the device, while far outstripping Android Wear sales, has nonetheless shipped a disappointing number of units. Ming-Chi Kuo pegs this figure at 3.9 million to date, characterising sales as “tepid.” Research firm Slice Intelligence estimates that orders have dropped by 90% since the initial week of availability. And Jessica Lessin, editor-in-chief of The Information says the device has failed to gain crucial traction with early adopters.

As such, the gold Apple Watch Sport — if KGI Securities’ prediction is accurate — could be a way to help bolster sales and help drum up interest in the device, especially in China, where sales of the gold iPhone have been very strong. But at the same time, it would be a curious move, and risks undermining one of the few things that make Apple’s wildly expensive high-end smartwatch unique. After all, there is no difference in the technical components between the Sport and Edition: Strap and casing are the only things that set them apart.

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