It’s a nice discount for all Apple employees, but it doesn’t quite match the free iPhones Apple handed out when its first smartphone hit the market.
It’s a good time to be an Apple employee.
CEO Tim Cook on Monday sent a memo to employees saying Apple will give all workers a 50 percent discount on Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport. The purchase has to be for personal use, and the discount, which starts at the time preorders begin on April 10, is only valid for the first 90 days after Apple Watch is available, the memo said.
“Our products enrich people’s lives like no others, and we think Apple Watch is going to delight our customers in ways people can’t yet imagine,” Cook said. “We want you to share in that experience right alongside them.”
The discount is a generous one, particularly when compared to rivals such as Samsung and to the launch of iPad. Samsung gives employees minimal discounts, and Apple didn’t give employees special pricing for the iPad when it first came out. Apple did, however, give all employees free iPhones when the smartphone hit the market in 2007 — making a 50 percent discount a little less attractive.
Still, Apple’s headcount has soared since it released iPhone, making it pretty expensive to hand out free watches (though its sales have also soared — to record highs). In fiscal 2007, which ended September 29, Apple had 21,600 full-time employees. In fiscal 2014, which ended September 27, Apple employed 92,600 full-time workers. About 46,200 of those 2014 employees worked in Apple’s retail stores.
Apple’s first smartwatch, Apple Watch, hits the market April 24, and presales start April 10. The device comes in two sizes, three different models, a couple different finishes per model and with a variety of band options. The entry-level device, the aluminum and glass Apple Watch Sport with plastic band, starts at $349. The midrange Apple Watch ranges from $549 to $1,099, and the premium gold Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000 and goes as high as $17,000.