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Apple drops the price of the Apple Watch to $299, rolls out new bands

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.

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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.

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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.