A new iPhone may have been the headliner at today’s Apple event in Cupertino, but the behemoth company’s unflagging wearable didn’t completely escape mention. Specifically, the Apple Watch — the “best-selling smartwatch in the world,” CEO Tim Cook said — is getting new wristbands and a substantial price reduction.
The new bands, Cook said, are largely in response to an apparently insatiable market appetite for Watch accessories. “People […] love changing the [Watch] bands,” Cook said. “About a third of our Apple Watch wearers regularly change the bands.”
New woven nylon wristbands in yellow, pink, blue, and black have a “four layer construction” that preserves the material’s flexibility without sacrificing durability. The existing sport and leather band lines are also gaining a new color. And there’s now a new black option for the ever-popular Milanese loop band. The new collection of bands, which Cook called a “Spring lineup,” will debut in the next few weeks.
Perhaps more significant than the new wristbands, though, is the Apple’s Watch’s major price cut. Effective immediately, the Apple Watch now starts at $299. That’s a steep cut, but not unprecedented — this past holiday season saw retailers advertise $100 off almost every model of Apple Watch, and Apple itself in November offered $50 discount on the Apple Watch to customers who purchased a new iPhone.
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While a price cut may spur speculation that the Apple Watch is falling short of sales targets, Apple hasn’t got much to worry about. Apple’s 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last September implied that the Apple Watch generated at least $1.688 billion in its first five months of availability, and a recent survey by market analytics firm IDC pegged sales at 11 million.
Absent from today’s announcements was any news of an Apple Watch sequel — rumors suggested a new and improved Watch model would make a debut at today’s event, but those proved inaccurate.