Apple Watch buyers wealthy enough to splurge on the $15,000 Edition version were lucky enough to have a jewelry case-style charging dock included with their purchase. The rest of the unwashed masses that own Apple Watches had to settle for an undignified magnetic USB charging cable, but now they will be able to make use of a new official magnetic charging dock.
Spotted days ago by various rumor blogs, the new Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock went on sale today on Apple's website for the relatively steep price of $79.
Rumors of Apple's official Watch dock first made its way to the web initially via iGen.fr—when packaging for the item first leaked. High resolution images of the dock in action followed shortly thereafter.
Some Apple Watch docks and stands offer walnut exteriors, like from Pad & Quill, or extending mechanisms like Griffin's charging station. Apple's keeps it simple with a white bubble-like platform with an inductive charger in the center. The charging puck in the center can be remain flush against the rest of the charging dock's base or raised to prop up the Apple Watch.
An unboxing video of the Apple Watch dock was also posted to Youtube by user TouchBenny. In it, we see the new Watch dock comes with an extra long Lightning cable. At the moment, it's only available in white, a sharp contrast to the multiplicity of colored bands for the Watch offered by Apple. However, the URL for the product on Apple's website (which conspicuously contains the word "white") suggests that other colors may be coming later.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and company have offered no shortage of charging solutions for their wearable. In addition to the default charging cable and charging box that ships with the Edition model, Apple's released a shorter power cable for the Watch.
The $79 price tag for this Apple Watch charging solution is the most expensive option the company offers for powering the device, and the dock remains one of the more costly ones when considering all third-party options. However, Apple appears to be hoping that consumers are willing to pay for the added convenience of being able to simply plunk down their Watches at night, rather than connect it via a cable (Apple says the Watch gets 18 hours of battery — in practice, many users have found it needs to be charged at the end of every day). And unlike other third-party docks, this can be used in addition to the included Apple Watch cable.
With the iPhone-companion device already positioned as a luxury item, it will be interesting to see how many Apple Watch users plunk down another $79 for the official dock, and whether or not it helps drive additional sales of the new device. Apple hasn't released official sales numbers for its first entrant into the smartwatch category, but a recent estimate from market research firm Canalys suggested the company has sold between 5 and 7 million so far, which would make it far and away the most successful smartwatch yet, but still pales in comparison to the numbers of iPhones and iPads sold every quarter.
Apple's Watch dock starts shipping Friday, Nov 20.