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A pair of Apple executives has taken a deep dive into the world of Apple Watch bands — including the company’s design philosophy behind them and its focus on backwards compatibility.
In a new interview with HYPEBEAST, Apple industrial design chief Evans Hankey and VP of product marketing Stan Ng explained some of the Cupertino tech giant’s thinking behind the iconic Apple Watch accessory.
“From the very beginning of the Apple Watch, bands have posed a unique and fascinating design challenge,” said Hankey. “Our goal has always been to create something that is beautiful, comfortable, and functional, and both pays homage to the rich history of watchmaking but also reflects the distinct individuality of the wearer.”
One top priority for Apple, Hankey explained, is interchangeability — particularly when it comes to affixing older Apple Watch bands to new models like the larger Apple Watch Series 7.
“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,” Hankey said.
He added that Apple doesn’t treat the band as just another technology accessory. Instead, he said that “each band expresses our love for materials, craft, and the process of making.”
Although Apple Watch bands don’t contain chips or any technology themselves, Ng said that the company strives to innovate with the accessory.
“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,” Ng said.
Additionally, those “innovations” actually allow and support a number of the Apple Watch’s features, including blood oxygen readings, heart rate tracking, and on-wrist detection for Apple Pay.
Ng also expanded on some of Apple’s band collaborations, including its long-standing partnership with luxury brand Hermes. The Apple VP said that the partnership is unique because both companies have different aesthetics but share an “obsession with details, craftsmanship, and storytelling.”
The full interview with Hankey and Ng, which is available here, contains other tidbits and is worth a read for any Apple Watch fan or design aficionado.