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.

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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.

hermes Noir Swift Leather Gourmette Metal Double Tour

Hermès Noir Swift Leather Gourmette (Metal) Double Tour

"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.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Top Rated Comments

jchatwood Avatar
11 months ago
This drives me crazy - I’m a leather technician and if people understood leather is made from taking a byproduct (waste, if you like) of the meat industry, and reusing it as a sustainable, long lasting material. What do we think happens if we don’t use these hides for leather - they go to landfill ?‍♂️ I’m all for apple creating different bands/using different materials, but don’t tell me something synthetic, bound by acrylics, is going to be more sustainable and better for the environment. The move by apple for sure is to appear ‘greener’ to certain consumers, but in reality will come down to cost savings.

I see people commenting that they are all for saving animals - but animals typically used for leather (Bovine) are never killed for the hides - they are killed for the meat.

These animals will be slaughtered if apple makes leather bands or not.
Score: 90 Votes (Like | Disagree)
amn3siak Avatar
11 months ago
I fail to see how synthetic materials, which needs chemicals and energy to produce, aren't durable, and need thousands of year to be degraded, are better for the environment than animal skin... ?
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fatboy71 Avatar
11 months ago
Lets face it, animals are reared and killed for us to eat. Leather is a byproduct/waste from the butchering process, so what better way to use this byproduct than to create things from it. The more companies that ditch leather in a bid to appear more sustainable, the more leather is going to be put in landfill. Pointless decision in my opinion.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xDKP Avatar
11 months ago

This drives me crazy - I’m a leather technician and if people understood leather is made from taking a byproduct (waste, if you like) of the meat industry, and reusing it as a sustainable, long lasting material. What do we think happens if we don’t use these hides for leather - they go to landfill ?‍♂️ I’m all for apple creating different bands/using different materials, but don’t tell me something synthetic, bound by acrylics, is going to be more sustainable and better for the environment. The move by apple for sure is to appear ‘greener’ to certain consumers, but in reality will come down to cost savings.

I see people commenting that they are all for saving animals - but animals typically used for leather (Bovine) are never killed for the hides - they are killed for the meat.

These animals will be slaughtered if apple makes leather bands or not.
Great perspective! Greenwashing can sometimes be super frustrating! And if you take good care of your leather boots, straps, bags etc. they will last a lifetime - no canvas straps etc. will come close
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mongobongo Avatar
11 months ago

This drives me crazy - I’m a leather technician and if people understood leather is made from taking a byproduct (waste, if you like) of the meat industry, and reusing it as a sustainable, long lasting material. What do we think happens if we don’t use these hides for leather - they go to landfill ?‍♂️ I’m all for apple creating different bands/using different materials, but don’t tell me something synthetic, bound by acrylics, is going to be more sustainable and better for the environment. The move by apple for sure is to appear ‘greener’ to certain consumers, but in reality will come down to cost savings.

I see people commenting that they are all for saving animals - but animals typically used for leather (Bovine) are never killed for the hides - they are killed for the meat.

These animals will be slaughtered if apple makes leather bands or not.
Great take, important perspective.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JanoschR Avatar
11 months ago

Not for the animals/environment. Not sure why it’s taken Apple so long to do this across their range to be honest.
You really think there are cows in Apples backyard and every time a user orders a leather band, they'll have to slaughter one? That's not how it works.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)