Since 2017, Apple has released a Watch The year before, a band similar to the 2017 one was given to Apple employees who were taking part in that year’s Pride march. This year’s band hits stores today, and is available to buy online. I’ve been testing it out.
It’s a Sport Band: that’s my second-favorite Apple Watch band, after the delightful Sport Loop. It’s a simpler buy, too: you need to get exactly the right size of Sport Loop but thanks to the pin-and-tuck closure on the Sport Band, there’s much wider compatibility. Apple says the 41mm band will fit the smaller size of Watch from Series 3 onwards (that’s 38mm, 40mm and 41mm) while the 45mm band will fit Series 3 and later sized 42mm, 44mm and 45mm.
Read on for my thoughts on the band and seven things you may not have heard, including the secret of the colorful capsule shapes that adorn the band.
1 You now need to choose your size for the Sport Band
Apple has changed how it sells the Sport Band. It still comes in two pieces, the buckle with the pin-and-tuck and the longer half with the holes. Previously, you’d get two sizes of the longer half, one for small/medium and one for medium/large. Now, you choose between the two sizes according to your wrist. For the 41mm size, S/M fits wrists measuring 130-180mm while M/L suits 150-200mm wrists. On the strap for the 45mm case, S/M fits 140-190mm, while wrists measuring 160-210mm will suit M/L.
As I understand it, Apple has made this change to reduce waste. After all, for most people one of the strips of fluoroelastomer is one they would never use.
2 It feels different
Although it’s the same pleasing fluoroelastomer material as other Sport Bands, to my fingers it has a feel that is ever-so-slightly different, a little more matte, less slippy somehow. It’s not a major change and it works brilliantly.
3 The 45mm strap fits the Ultra, but…
…it’s also different. Here’s the thing, I know with Sport Bands that I always use the third perforation from the Watch connector, but on this band it felt less tight. It took me a moment to realize that that’s because the Ultra is a bigger case than Series 8, so of course it’s a different fit.
It’s still comfortable and is tight enough to record heart rates and so on.
By the way, I checked and the length of strap is identical to before, it hasn’t changed at all. And of course it fits other Watches like Series 8, perfectly.
4 Check out the Pin and Tuck
This is very cool. The base of the pin, the side that sits next to your skin, is usually plain aluminum but this time, it’s laser-etched with the words “Designed with Pride in California”. It’s also a shinier finish this time.
Apple has always reserved extra detail for Pride. Check out the packaging which has the word Watch and Apple logo in rainbow colors. And the inside of the packaging is more colorful than usual, too.
5 The Watch faces are fantastic
Initial images had left people wondering if the minute and hour hands change color to match the capsules at the edges of the first face, called Motion. But it’s cleverer than that. The clue is in the name. As you look at the Watch face, the colored capsules rotate around the clock, altering their relationship to each other as they go. And the minute and hour hand do indeed change color subtly to match the capsules. Oh, and if you tap the screen, the capsules respond exactly to your touch.
6 The second hand has a secret of its own
The second hand seems like it remains white all the time but, if you look more closely, you’ll see that it’s translucent, so as it passes over the minute hand, for instance, it picks up some of the color underneath. It’s subtle and effective.
7 What the capsules really are
The Motion face lets you plonk the date or your initials in the middle, but to be able to see multiple complications in each of the corners, you need Numerals or Hour Marks.
The capsules seen scattered around the Motion face turn out to be Hour Marks, as that Watch face reveals. Numerals is nearly identical to Hour Marks, but for the fact that there are numbers in each of the 12 hour spots, in identical colors.
The numerals are squidgy, lumpy numbers, as though the capsules had evolved.
I like them all, though Hour Marks is becoming my favorite.
If you’d like to know what the colors stand for, Apple has this to say: “In addition to the colors of the core Pride flag, black and brown symbolize marginalized LGBTQ+ communities of color, as well as those impacted by HIV/AIDS. Light blue, pink, and white honor trans and nonbinary people.”
And it’s worth remembering that Apple gives money to relevant organizations. As it says, “Apple is proud to financially support LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations working to bring about positive change.” These include Equality Federation Institute, Encircle, Equality North Carolina, Equality Texas, Gender Spectrum, GLSEN, Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, The National Center for Transgender Equality, SMYAL, The Trevor Project and ILGA World.
The 2023 Pride Edition Sport Band costs $49 (£49 in the U.K.) and is available from Apple.