Beyoncé has one. Katy Perry has one. Even the emotional Drake has one. I’m talking, of course, about the Apple Watch “Edition” model.
A lot has been made of the Apple Watch Edition’s hefty price tag, from $10,000 to $17,000. It is the most expensive mobile product Apple has ever made, by far. But Apple has experience selling high-end electronics. Very high end. Here are the most expensive products Apple has ever sold.
Apple Watch Edition
Let’s kick things off with the product that’s got everyone talking, the Apple Watch. Most Apple Watch buyers will likely opt for the 38 mm Apple Watch Sport or 42 mm Apple Watch Sport, which cost $350 and $400, respectively.
But if you’re a celebrity, tech mogul, or just really rich, you’ll probably snag an Apple Watch Edition. Pricing starts at a cool 10 grand for a 38 mm Apple Watch Edition with an 18-karat rose-gold case with a white Sport Band. Or you can splurge on the top configuration: $17,000 for a 38 mm watch with an 18-karat gold case and red Modern Buckle strap. You can’t get a 42 mm watch with the Modern Buckle.
Supercelebrities like Beyoncé, though, have been spotted wearing an Apple Watch Edition with a gold link band. Apple doesn’t advertise this configuration of the watch anywhere in its promotional materials, and you can’t buy it through the company’s website. The going theory is that the all-gold watch is a special version of the Apple Watch Edition made specifically for super-high-profile celebrities. Pricing starts in your dreams.
Built to commemorate Apple’s 20th anniversary in 1996, though released in 1997, the 20th Anniversary Macintosh was a special edition all-in-one desktop. The TAM, as it’s known in nerdier circles, sold for a wallet-eviscerating $7,499. That’s the equivalent of about $11,000 in today’s dollars.
The TAM lived a short life, though, as its performance didn’t match its price. You could have bought a similarly powerful Apple desktop for far less cash. The TAM did, however, get to spend some time in the limelight, serving as Jerry Seinfeld’s desktop computer on Seinfeld. A version of the TAM also made an appearance as Alfred’s computer in the cinematic abomination that was Batman and Robin.
Let’s jump from the past back to the present with Apple’s current Mac Pro. The cylindrical desktop is a heavy hitter in terms of both performance and price tag. Used for things like hardcore video and photo editing, the Mac Pro starts at $3,000 with a Quad-Core processor, 12 GB of RAM, 256 GB of memory, and dual graphics cards. That’s quite a beastly machine.
But if you want to go all-out, you can stack the Mac Pro with a 12-Core processor, 64 GB of RAM, 1 TB of flash storage, and dual graphics cards for $9,600. If you buy every accessory, display, cable, and printer that Apple recommends for the Mac Pro, you’ll end up shelling out an incredible $22,000.
Of course, that price includes two displays, a variety of cables you’re unlikely ever to use, software, and Apple’s AppleCare Protection Plan, should you drop your Apple Watch on your Mac Pro and scratch it.
The Mac Pro with all the bells and whistles may cost $22,000, but it’s still not the most expensive computer Apple has ever sold. That honor goes to Apple’s Lisa. The business-centric desktop originally went on sale in 1983 for roughly $10,000, or $24,000 in 2015 dollars.
The Lisa wasn’t just some overpriced box. It was the first computer sold to the public with a mouse-based, graphical operating system, something we still use today. It was a pioneering system, to be sure, but at $10,000, it’s hard to believe that anyone bought it.
Released in 1985, Apple’s LaserWriter was a networked laser printer that, according to Macworld, could be used by up to 40 different Macs using Apple’s AppleTalk network. The LaserWriter led Apple to dominate the desktop publishing market by providing people with the ability to produce physical copies of the graphics and layouts they designed on their Macs.
The LaserWriter wasn’t cheap, though. With a starting price of $7,000 in 1985, the LaserWriter would cost a staggering $15,400 in 2015. That’s one pricey printer.
For now, it’s probably safe to say that Apple won’t be making any new computer products that cost more than $24,000 without options. Then again, if the rumors that Apple is working on its own car are true, $24,000 might seem like a pittance for a product with the Apple logo on it.