Apple Cracking down on 3rd Party Silicone Bands?

igotgame1075

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 10, 2005
46
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After checking Amazon today it looks like all of Moko's stock, along with FanTEK's stock is completely gone. You can no longer easily order a 42mm silicone band from arguably the largest two Apple Watch band manufactures.

Anyone else noticing similar stock issues with other 3rd party bands they have purchased in the past?
 
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xDKP

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I have two MoKo, and can understand if Apple tries to stop them - They are identical copies of a pretty unique band design, but with worse materials. The silicone attract dust like crazy and doesn't feel as nice to me.
 

xDKP

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No tears from me. There's absolutely nothing stopping third-party manufacturers from being creative and coming up with their own designs rather than pilfering Apple's.
My point exactly - And I'm way more interested in Nomads rubber strap actually, than another copy-paste-strap
 

igotgame1075

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 10, 2005
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Maybe just me then but I would prefer a $5 silicone band over a $50 band that's nearly identical. I've got two official Apple bands and so far i've worn them far less than the knockoffs I have and the knockoffs are actually holding up better.
 

BarracksSi

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...and the knockoffs are actually holding up better.
Makes me wonder what you're doing to the bands, then. Apart from some burnishing on the inside surface where the "tongue" rubs against the inside of the "tail" (I guess...), my black Sport band looks the same as it did a year and a half ago, and it's my only band for my AW.
 

The-Real-Deal82

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Jan 17, 2013
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If Apple want to seriously crack down on 3rd party manufacturers they need to lower their sports bands down in price. £49 is steep when a natural rubber dive strap will cost you £30 and I'm not convinced they are totally worth the asking price. In fact all Apples straps are above what I think they are worth with them charging Swiss prices at the high end. People are buying them though so I guess they can do this. I hope 3rd party companies persevere and continue providing great quality products at a fraction of the price.
 
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The-Real-Deal82

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No tears from me. There's absolutely nothing stopping third-party manufacturers from being creative and coming up with their own designs rather than pilfering Apple's.
As long as they are good quality and suit the lug connection needed at a fraction of the price I am happy for them to copy. Apple always encounter an interest in companies providing similar products and a lot of that is down to the lucrative market they provide, but it's also because Apple create a gap in the market with their pricing.
 

Thai

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If Apple want to seriously crack down on 3rd party manufacturers they need to lower their sports bands down in price. £49 is steep when a natural rubber dive strap will cost you £30 and I'm not convinced they are totally worth the asking price. In fact all Apples straps are above what I think they are worth with them charging Swiss prices at the high end. People are buying them though so I guess they can do this. I hope 3rd party companies persevere and continue providing great quality products at a fraction of the price.
I disagree. The Apple bands are worth it IMHO.
 

niceandeasy

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Feb 14, 2017
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Maybe just me then but I would prefer a $5 silicone band over a $50 band that's nearly identical. I've got two official Apple bands and so far i've worn them far less than the knockoffs I have and the knockoffs are actually holding up better.
I think most would even if the quality is slightly worse. You can see Apple's point though, people just piggybacking on their success and taking a huge revenue source from them.
 

Thai

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Fair enough, that's your prerogative.
The band cost that much because of the research and development that went into it. You're paying not just for the cost of materials & labor...but also for R&D. And you also pay for the after-sales support in customer service...such as no question ask return policy. Just like iPhone does not cost $650 in materials...but you have to factor in the whole project. Aftermarket stuff are copies of Apple stuff...so, they bypass the R&D altogether.

But, for me, the cheap thin feel and lint-loving silicone aftermarket bands are not nearly on the same level as Apple's Sport band. I can see your argument with Milanese or Link bands...but for Classic Buckle and Sport bands, Apple's version is significantly better than aftermarket counterparts.
 

The-Real-Deal82

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The band cost that much because of the research and development that went into it. You're paying not just for the cost of materials & labor...but also for R&D. And you also pay for the after-sales support in customer service...such as no question ask return policy. Just like iPhone does not cost $650 in materials...but you have to factor in the whole project. Aftermarket stuff are copies of Apple stuff...so, they bypass the R&D altogether.

But, for me, the cheap thin feel and lint-loving silicone aftermarket bands are not nearly on the same level as Apple's Sport band. I can see your argument with Milanese or Link bands...but for Classic Buckle and Sport bands, Apple's version is significantly better than aftermarket counterparts.
I'm a Design Engineer, I am fully aware of R&D costs, tooling, patents etc. I have been in the business for the last 16 years and have several live patents to my name. Based on my experience and judgment, I think the strap is priced at the very top end of what I feel it is worth. That is my humble professional opinion.
 

SoN1NjA

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I think the price is fine, it's a very premium feeling and looking band,

FUN FACT: the design of the Sport band is from one of Marc Newson's non Apple watch; the Milanese Loop and Link Bracelet bands are also his designs that were ported to the Apple Watch
 
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BarracksSi

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I think the price is fine, it's a very premium feeling and looking band,

FUN FACT: the design of the Sport band is from one of Marc Newson's non Apple watch; the Milanese Loop and Link Bracelet bands are also his designs that were ported to the Apple Watch
I was gonna say -- the basic design of the Sport band was not exclusive to Apple, so Apple didn't really have to absorb R&D on the materials and production. Marc's brand of traditional watches, Ikepod, used the same design. The attachment was new for Apple, though.

I didn't know the Link Bracelet had precedent -- are you talking about the overall design, or the pushbutton links?
 

SoN1NjA

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I was gonna say -- the basic design of the Sport band was not exclusive to Apple, so Apple didn't really have to absorb R&D on the materials and production. Marc's brand of traditional watches, Ikepod, used the same design. The attachment was new for Apple, though.

I didn't know the Link Bracelet had precedent -- are you talking about the overall design, or the pushbutton links?
Use of a single link band
Which I MUCH prefer over the 3, those things are god awful no matter the price of the watch

Really wanted back in the day the mono link bracket for Moro 360 but they were limited edition?
 

ApplePersonFreak

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Sep 23, 2016
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The band cost that much because of the research and development that went into it. You're paying not just for the cost of materials & labor...but also for R&D. And you also pay for the after-sales support in customer service...such as no question ask return policy. Just like iPhone does not cost $650 in materials...but you have to factor in the whole project. Aftermarket stuff are copies of Apple stuff...so, they bypass the R&D altogether.

But, for me, the cheap thin feel and lint-loving silicone aftermarket bands are not nearly on the same level as Apple's Sport band. I can see your argument with Milanese or Link bands...but for Classic Buckle and Sport bands, Apple's version is significantly better than aftermarket counterparts.
I definitely agree. I recently bought a $8 knock off band from Amazon and while it does fit and do its job, it constantly sticks to lint and it's hard to clean.

Whereas with the Apple ones they are pricey, if you buy it once and stick with it it'll be awhile till you have to buy another unless you want to change colors of course. The quality of their bands can't be beat.
 

Relentless Power

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Jul 12, 2016
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I definitely agree. I recently bought a $8 knock off band from Amazon and while it does fit and do its job, it constantly sticks to lint and it's hard to clean.

Whereas with the Apple ones they are pricey, if you buy it once and stick with it it'll be awhile till you have to buy another unless you want to change colors of course. The quality of their bands can't be beat.
Very true. I own many Apple OEM bands and third-party bands. Even though the third party bands completely resemble the Apple Watch bands from first glance, they do not boast the quality of the Apple Watch bands. Even the sport bands for the Apple Watch are thicker, more supple and have a stronger texture. Apple's bands are expensive and marked high, but they deliver a great result.
 

Mac2me

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Jun 10, 2015
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I have mostly Apple brand sport bands in my collection, some third party bands on adapters and I think 2 silicone knock off sport bands in colors that Apple doesn't have, which is why I bought those--wanted to match an item of clothing. After these 2 silicone bands, which do attract lint like crazy and the fact they feel cheaper (albeit soft), I pretty much decided to stick with the Apple brand regardless of the color choice.

I'll take advantage of sales or clearance markdowns but have bought at retail price every so often. I have one leather band my watch came with but for the most part the Sport is my preferred casual daily band. I just ordered an Ocean Blue Sport in fact, which has been discontinued by Apple, from Target.com which was at retail price but at least from them you can use those $5 gift cards they hand out when you buy certain items from their weekly ads. They let you use $20 worth of cards on the purchase so it helps keep the credit card purchase down.

If Apple has cracked down on the copycats, hey good for them. Companies need to protect their work and products be it Apple or anyone else. There are people who like Apple's designs and such and want them but don't want to pay for them. They want to be "seen" with Apple products although they aren't buying them. A lot of work goes into making a unique product and there's a reason why people buy Apple products over other companies products and product design is a huge reason. Just wrong to steal stuff from other people is how I was brought up, and stealing is how I look at these knockoff products.
 
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The-Real-Deal82

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I have mostly Apple brand sport bands in my collection, some third party bands on adapters and I think 2 silicone knock off sport bands in colors that Apple doesn't have, which is why I bought those--wanted to match an item of clothing. After these 2 silicone bands, which do attract lint like crazy and the fact they feel cheaper (albeit soft), I pretty much decided to stick with the Apple brand regardless of the color choice.

I'll take advantage of sales or clearance markdowns but have bought at retail price every so often. I have one leather band my watch came with but for the most part the Sport is my preferred casual daily band. I just ordered an Ocean Blue Sport in fact, which has been discontinued by Apple, from Target.com which was at retail price but at least from them you can use those $5 gift cards they hand out when you buy certain items from their weekly ads. They let you use $20 worth of cards on the purchase so it helps keep the credit card purchase down.

If Apple has cracked down on the copycats, hey good for them. Companies need to protect their work and products be it Apple or anyone else. There are people who like Apple's designs and such and want them but don't want to pay for them. They want to be "seen" with Apple products although they aren't buying them. A lot of work goes into making a unique product and there's a reason why people buy Apple products over other companies products and product design is a huge reason. Just wrong to steal stuff from other people is how I was brought up, and stealing is how I look at these knockoff products.
Apart from the lug connection, which straps in the Apple range are exclusively their design? It could be argued that the sport band, the Milanese, the leather etc are all borrowed from existing watch manufacturers, admittedly under license but they haven't invested the R&D beyond its connection. I'll happily buy none Apple straps, especially superior quality handmade versions significantly cheaper. Apple have created the alternative market by their high tier pricing at the end of the day.
 
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the future

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Link bracelet with single links that can be taken out with a button and almost completely flat clasp, leather loop, modern buckle - all completely original. Not sure there was precedent for woven nylon? The buckle design of the classic buckle is also quite different from other buckles. The sport band is a refined version of a Marc Newson design who now is with Apple as well and the material feels much better than any other "rubber-type" band ever did. All in all, tons of R&D and attention to detail. No wonder that the (traditional) watch blogs that weren't so sure about the Apple Watch itself were over the moon for the bands.

So, they may be not worth it to you, but the watch bands from Apple are really high-class and not overpriced at all.
 
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The-Real-Deal82

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Anyway...
The third party market exists for all manufacturers and is healthy for consumers in general. It would be a pretty boring existence if the only bands that were available came directly from Apple at full retail price. I picked up a sealed Apple White sports band today for £17 saving me £33, so thankfully these bands can be picked up from other outlets.
 

funnyboy88

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Jun 18, 2009
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I think it is odd speculation to assume Apple is cracking down on 3rd party sport bands, but it is certainly weird how they are disappearing from Amazon. I wonder if there is some odd supply chain issue? I'm sure most of these companies all source from the same manufacturer in China.
 

csurfr

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Dec 7, 2016
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I think it is odd speculation to assume Apple is cracking down on 3rd party sport bands, but it is certainly weird how they are disappearing from Amazon. I wonder if there is some odd supply chain issue? I'm sure most of these companies all source from the same manufacturer in China.
If the issue was just the supply chain they would be listed as "out of stock" Most of the bands' pages are simply gone. Inteny for example makes nylon and silicone bands (admittedly very close to Apple on some counts) is non-existant.

Also, if Apple lowered the price on the sport band, I might be tempted to buy another one or two, but not at 50.00. For someone (not quoted post) to say that it is hurting Apple isn't factually driven. How many people that buy a knockoff for 5.00 would spend 50.00 if said knockoff wasn't available? No one knows for sure. There always has been and always will be a market for copies if the prices on the original are unobtainable by the masses.
 

tl01

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Jun 20, 2010
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This whole thing is very odd. I'm going to order a few bands from these companies in case they really are gone now. I still some of available items on eBay etc.
 
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