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In a new interview, two Apple executives have discussed Apple's wide range of Apple Watch band options for customers, how they're designed, and their thinking behind them.

Apple-Watch-Series-7-Rainbow-Crop-Blue.jpg

Evans Hankey, Apple's vice president of industrial design, and Stan Ng, Apple's vice president of product marketing, recently spoke to HYPEBEAST about Apple Watch bands.

Apple has a wide range of Apple Watch bands for customers to choose from, and the design of the Apple Watch allows them to quickly change their bands as they please, a typically hard thing to do with traditional watches.

When considering the ability for users to change their watch face, the watchband style and color, and the material of the Apple Watch casing itself, Hankey said customers have "an unbelievable number of potential combinations, well into the thousands" of styles to use.

One hallmark character of the Apple Watch is that bands from previous years have, so far, been compatible with the newest model in the same size. For example, with the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple increased the case sizes to 41mm and 45mm, and yet, watch bands for 40mm and 44mm Apple Watch models remain compatible.

Hankey said that backward compatibility remains a top priority for the Apple Watch team.
Since the first Apple Watch to today's Series 7, the interchangeability of the band has been a cornerstone of the product. Between the band style and color, the material of the Watch housing, and which Watch face you've selected and customized, the system affords an unbelievable number of potential combinations, well into the thousands. Each time we have refined the Apple Watch's design, we have pushed ourselves to maintain backward compatibility, which has been no small feat as the display has grown over the years.

For us, the band is not at all about technology — each band expresses our love for materials, craft, and the process of making.
Apple Watch bands themselves include no technology, but their design plays an important role in making sure that functionality of the Apple Watch doesn't get interrupted. Ng said that Apple Watch bands feature "innovations" to ensure they're comfortable, and don't ruin the Apple Watch experience.
For example, the velcro tabs on the Sport Loops, magnets on the Milanese Loop and Leather Link, and nine sizes of Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop make it easy to adjust or find the right band size for a perfect fit.

This ensures the watch is comfortable to wear — not too snug and not too loose — while also enabling features like all-day heart rate tracking, blood oxygen readings, and on-wrist detection that allow you to use Apple Pay or unlock your iPhone securely without authenticating every time.
Apple designs its own set of bands, but it also works with high-end luxury brand Hermès. Ng said that Apple's collaboration with Hermès is unique since both companies have an obsession over details, craftsmanship, and storytelling. In the remainder of the interview, the executives go into more detail about some popular Apple Watch bands, such as the Braided Solo Loop, Leather Link, and Milanese Loop. The full interview can be read here.

Article Link: Apple Executives Talk Watch Bands: Emphasis on Backward Compatibility, Design Philosophy, and More
 

BWhaler

macrumors 68040
Jan 8, 2003
3,770
6,168
Isn’t Evans Hankey the same clown who argued the merits of the AirPod Max case? Not saying the comments about the watch bands are the same, just surprised Apple wheeled this guy out again.

Wonder if he is the same guy approving Apple’s trend to invisible interface elements in iOS and MacOS.
 
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fwmireault

macrumors 68000
Jul 4, 2019
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Montreal, Canada
I’m very curious how long the actual bands will be supported, probably still for a few years. There will come a day when the band connection system will be limiting new features or new design (smart bands?) for Apple Watch, and Apple will have no choice but to move on. The longer they wait, the less happier people will be.
 

nathan_reilly

macrumors regular
Apr 2, 2016
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I’m very curious how long the actual bands will be supported, probably still for a few years. There will come a day when the band connection system will be limiting new features or new design (smart bands?) for Apple Watch, and Apple will have no choice but to move on. The longer they wait, the less happier people will be.
are you even remotely unhappy they have "waited" so long already? You make it sound as if we are yearning for more planned obsolescence my friend
 

jz0309

macrumors 603
Sep 25, 2018
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SoCal
So, is that a reassurance that watchbands will continue compatibility in the future or is this talk to start to prepare for a different form factor requiring all new bands?
I’ve tried a few 3rd party but Apples own are the best, for me, knowing that the margin is huge
 

boss.king

macrumors 603
Apr 8, 2009
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Yeah, why the dual colors? It makes the watch look like a kid's toy.
I don't even have an issue with them selling them, I get people have lots of different design sensibilities and I'm sure there are people that love these designs, but it would be great to at least have a couple of options for people who don't.
 

fwmireault

macrumors 68000
Jul 4, 2019
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Montreal, Canada
are you even remotely unhappy they have "waited" so long already? You make it sound as if we are yearning for more planned obsolescence my friend
I love that Apple gave the compatibility from S0. But let’s face it: people will be way more mad to change all their collection of bands the longer they wait. That doesn’t mean that I wish that Apple makes our actual bands incompatible, but I’m sure that it’s something that Apple is considering in their future development for the Watch
 

BGPL

macrumors 6502a
May 4, 2016
722
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California
Take my advice, buy the cheap sport band, then make your way to Amazon and buy whatever band you want for $5-10 each. I have one for every occasion and outfit, and it costed me about $50.

I got a generic Milanese band for $10 and it fits perfectly and works great after three years. Apple's markup on these sorts of things prevents me admiring the company more.
 

jmgregory1

macrumors 68030
I went a year with just the included Nike Sport band that was included with my series 5 Nike Watch, then saw an Apple nylon sport loop on sale, picked it and now have two sport loops and a braided loop, and use all four in rotation. My wife on the other hand has only wanted her Nike sport band, although she did just send me a photo of the Leather band from Apple that she wants for Xmas. Wanna make bets on how quickly she’ll want to try other bands once she get’s the leather one?
 
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ZEEN0j

macrumors 68000
Sep 29, 2014
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They’d make more if everyone had to buy news ones with each version of the watch.
I’m not sure they would. I certainly wouldn’t buy bands at the rate I do now if it wasn’t backwards compatible. I get a new band if I buy a new watch. I would maybe buy one extra. That’s one extra band in my case per watch purchase
 

boss.king

macrumors 603
Apr 8, 2009
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Take my advice, buy the cheap sport band, then make your way to Amazon and buy whatever band you want for $5-10 each. I have one for every occasion and outfit, and it costed me about $50.

I got a generic Milanese band for $10 and it fits perfectly and works great after three years. Apple's markup on these sorts of things prevents me admiring the company more.
Can you comment on the difference in quality between the sport loops? I've seen people complain that their aftermarket sport loops sometimes break at the lugs or that the velcro wears out quickly.

That said, I do have a couple coming from a reputable AliExpress seller to hold me over until Apple makes another one that I like, but my single sport loop has lasted me almost four years now and is only just starting to fray in one sport near the floating lug. I'm not sure I could find a $10 version that would do the same.
 
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QuarterSwede

macrumors G3
Oct 1, 2005
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Colorado Springs, CO
How about separating the band from the watch, so you can just buy the watch if you want and not have your order held up a month for the stupid band you don't even need.
Totally agree. Their watch buying experience is awful. It’s needlessly overdone.

I just want to pick the case material, size, band. Done. Keep the gallery view for people who can’t decide but let the rest of us dig down to choose like buying anything else. I knew what I wanted when getting my series 7 and it took me far longer than it should have just to find the right combo.
 

boss.king

macrumors 603
Apr 8, 2009
5,287
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Totally agree. Their watch buying experience is awful. It’s needlessly overdone.

I just want to pick the case material, size, band. Done. Keep the gallery view for people who can’t decide but let the rest of us dig down to choose like buying anything else. I knew what I wanted when getting my series 7 and it took me far longer than it should have just to find the right combo.
You just know that if they ever do split them up, they're going take out the band but leave the price the same, at which point I'd rather just get the free band.
 

QuarterSwede

macrumors G3
Oct 1, 2005
9,645
1,774
Colorado Springs, CO
I just want them to make simpler sport loops again. Mine is starting to fray and I can't stand the half-and-half designs they've been selling lately.
Have you tried their solo loop? I went with one on my last purchase because I didn’t like the cheaper options and couldn’t stomach spending what they want for a braided solo loop. Coming from wearing a sports band then the sports loop I find the solo loop the most comfortable and I know for a fact it won’t come off (how I lost my series 3).
 
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