Many Apple Watch Bands and Bundles Currently Listed as 'Sold Out'
Over the past few weeks, some Apple Watch wearers have noticed that a growing portion of Apple's band inventory has been marked as "sold out," with many styles, sizes, and colors, now included in that group.
While Apple has made it clear that its first foray into fashion accessories will follow a "seasonal" cycle, with certain styles leaving its store forever once sold out, the array of bands unavailable on the store paints an erratic picture of shortages from all three of the Apple Watch's seasonal collections: Spring 2015, Fall 2015, and Spring 2016.
Tracked in the U.S. on both Apple.com and the Apple Store iOS app [Direct Link], the Classic Buckle currently has the most significant stock shortage of any of the Apple Watch bands, totaling 13 out-of-stock color options in both the 38 mm and 42 mm sizes. The smaller 38 mm wrist size option is the most affected, with only one band -- Saddle Brown -- available to purchase. Behind Classic Buckle, the Sport Band has 12 out-of-stock options on Apple's store, the Modern Buckle has four, and the Leather Loop has three, with varying sizes affecting availability for the latter two bands.
Out-of-Stock Apple Watch Bands
42 mm Sport
42 mm Link Bracelet
-Medium Storm Gray
42 mm Classic Buckle
-Small Soft Pink
-Medium Midnight Blue
-Large Blue Jay
Besides the completely in-stock Milanese Loop, the newer Nylon Band is the least affected by shortages, with only the Gold/Blue colorway out of stock right now for each wrist size. The Link Bracelet is faring similarly well for 38 mm (which has stock in both Silver and Space Black) and 42 mm (which is sold out only in Space Black).
The Hermès bands have several "unavailable" options as well (the only ones to use such wording), but two collections are marked as "Sold Out," in line with the rest of the out-of-stock Apple Watch band inventory. Still, given Hermès' top-tier pricing and third-party nature, their shortages probably won't affect what the stock of Apple's own first-party bands could hint at moving forward.
In each collection, availability varies among old color options and some of the newer Spring 2016 entries, like Green and Royal Blue for the 42 mm Sport Band. Whereas some original styles have gone out of stock steadily following the launch of the Apple Watch last year, which is expected, the sudden and varying disappearance of so many colors -- both new and old -- is leading to speculation on what Apple might be gearing up for behind the scenes.
Out-of-Stock Apple Watch Bundles
Apple Watch Sport
-42mm Silver Aluminum Case with Royal Blue Sport Band
-42mm Silver Aluminum Case with Scuba Blue Woven Nylon
-38mm Rose Gold Aluminum Case with Royal Blue Woven Nylon
-38mm Gold Aluminum Case with Gold/Red Woven Nylon
-42mm Stainless Steel Case with Storm Gray Leather Loop (All Sizes)
-42mm Space Black Stainless Steel Case with Space Black Link Bracelet
-42mm Space Black Stainless Steel Case with Black Sport Band
-38mm Space Black Stainless Steel Case with Black Sport Band
-38mm Stainless Steel Case with Blue Jay Modern Buckle (All Sizes)
-38mm Stainless Steel Case with Pearl Woven Nylon
As one Redditor posited, these shortages could be a potential hint at the incoming launch of new bands, but whether that means Apple is preparing for its first mid-season "Summer" collection, or getting a jump on fall, remains to be seen. It's also been contemplated whether this could be early inventory shuffling ahead of the Apple Watch 2, expected to launch sometime around the iPhone 7 in the fall, with the potential for all-new band lugs making first-generation Apple Watch bands incompatible with the new wearable. That's a highly unlikely possibility, however, given the proliferation and popularity of interchangeable bands that customers have accumulated already in one generation of the Apple Watch.
It should also be noted that the wording for each unavailable model isn't Apple's usual "Currently Unavailable" that typically appears when an item is temporarily out of stock for an undetermined period of time, but a seemingly more definitive "Sold Out."
Fortunately, those bands that are in stock -- including all models of the Milanese Loop -- are showing shipping estimates with availability between one and three days. At the time of writing, the only bands with lengthy waiting periods are the 42 mm Saddle Brown Classic Buckle and 42 mm Light Pink Sport Band, which both have a 1-2 week shipping estimate. Some unavailable individual bands are also still in stock as part of a watch bundle, so there's potentially a way for users to get their hand on sold-out bands if they don't own an Apple Watch yet.