Apple Watch Leather Bands May Be Discontinued for Series 9
Late last month, rumors suggested that Apple plans to eliminate leather cases for the iPhone 15 lineup, and today we are hearing that Apple Watch leather bands may also soon be phased out as part of a fresh sustainability push by Apple.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman believes that Apple will "begin moving away from leather on its Apple Watch bands as well," which, as he rightly notes, puts the future of Apple's partnership with luxury brand Hermès in question.
Adding weight to this assumption, Gurman reports that last month Apple began offering employees its Apple Watch Hermès leather accessories and leather link bands at heavily discounted prices – in some cases up to 90% off – in a clear indication that Apple is clearing its inventory.
Gurman offers the example of Apple Hermès bands with a retail price of $850 – likely the Noir Swift Leather Gourmette (Metal) Double Tour – being offered to staff for $85. The internal deal is said to be continuing even though many Hermès bands are officially out of stock.
"Several other accessories including many Solo Loop bands in outgoing colors and the MagSafe charging dock [sic] are also on deep discount to clear stock," added the reporter in a Twitter (X) post, suggesting these too are set to be replaced imminently. (Note: It's not yet clear which MagSafe charger Gurman is referring to here.)
Last week we reported on rumors suggesting Apple intends to offer leather-alternative iPhone 15 cases with a woven fabric look, under the case moniker "FineWoven." If this is accurate, Apple would presumably sell silicone cases and the new "FineWoven" cases, replicas of which have been shared online.
A leather alternative that is fabric-based would have a smaller carbon footprint than a case made from traditional cowhide, and it would be more environmentally friendly. Indeed, Gurman speculates that sustainability will be a "larger than normal" part of Apple's "Wonderlust" September 12th event, where it is expected to unveil its new iPhone 15 lineup, Apple Watch Series 9, and a second-generation Apple Watch Ultra, among other possible new products.