This week’s top stories: iPhone SE diary, iPad Pro 9.7-inch, Hermès Apple Watch bands, new iOS apps & more
Our top stories this week include our hands-on coverage and real-world testing of the new iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7-inch, as well as the latest on what to expect from the next generation iPhone 7 and iPhone sales going forward. Apple also attracted some attention with the announcement of new Hermès Apple Watch bands this week, and we had a handful of notable iOS and Mac app launches and updates.
Stories surrounding the Apple and FBI controversy over encryption came to a slow as the FBI officially confirmed the hack it discovered does not work with the iPhone 5s or later iPhones. Head below for the handy links to all of this week’s top stories.
Until today, the only way to get a premium Apple Watch Hermès band was to buy the band and watch together from the Apple Store, or buy a very-similar (and cheaper) knockoff band and pretend it is genuine. It was also only offered in one color, fauve brown. That is all about to change however. Apple has announced that it will soon start selling Apple Watch Hermès bands standalone and in several new colors.
Soon, customers will be able to buy Double Tour, Single Tour and Cuff bands separately in fauve brown, feu red, blanc white, bleu paon green and blue saphir blue shades. The new bands will be available from April 19, 2016 …
Attendees at this year’s Tommy Hilfiger New York Fashion Week show won’t have to be pulling out any physical invitations or even their smartphones to check-in to events this year thanks to a partnership with GPS Radar. Attendees instead will be able to use the newly updated GPS Radar Apple Watch app to view event invitations, RSVP to the events, and get a view on the fashion week’s calendar.
Apple is planning to introduce new iPad hardware at an event in mid-March, according to sources, with the most likely device being a new iPad Air. This new iPad with a 9.7-inch screen, presumably to be called the “iPad Air 3,” will be launched alongside the a new 4-inch iPhone known as the “iPhone 5se” and a series of new Apple Watch models. Apple is currently planning to hold its keynote during the week of March 14th, but the final date is still in flux, according to sources.
After several months of limited availability in select retail stores across the globe, Apple Watch Hermès is now available to purchase online. Interestingly, that counters the initial point-of-sale strategy with the other three Apple Watch collections, which were at first only available to purchase online before hitting retail stores months later. Instead, the Apple Watch collection introduced in partnership with Hermès last fall enjoyed a more intimate point-of-sale experience with North American availability limited to Apple, Hermès, and Maxfield locations in LA, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto with a similar situation across Europe and Asia.
Originally released back in October, Apple partnered with French leather fashion company Hermès for a lineup of high-end leather bands for the Apple Watch. The Hermès bands, however, have only been available from Apple stores and Hermès stores in big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Miami. Starting this Friday, however, the Hermès collection will be available online from both Hermes.com and Apple.com (via Fashionista).
It’s immediately noticeable that the new Lowry Cuff strap from Pad & Quill meets the company’s usual quality standard requirements. You’ll first likely notice the strap is handcrafted by the rugged look of the stitching that clearly wasn’t done by machine. And the leather, which the company notes is full-grain vegetable-tanned leather from Horween Tannery (a favorite source of leather for a lot of high-end goods), is extremely soft to the touch. Some leather bands are stiff and as a result a bit cheap feeling, especially before breaking them in a bit, but the Lowry Cuff doesn’t suffer from any of those issues.
There are now four “versions” of the Apple Watch — the $349+ Apple Watch Sport, the $549+ Apple Watch, the $1,100+ Apple Watch Hermès, and the $10,000+ Apple Watch Edition. Apart from metal and glass differences, all four Apple Watches are virtually identical to one another, enabling DIYers and entrepreneurs to tweak one model to look like another. Earlier this year, gold plating services made the Apple Watch look like the Apple Watch Edition for under $400. Now there are ways to make the Apple Watch Sport or Apple Watch look like an Apple Watch Hermès for under $100.
Apple uses the silver stainless steel Apple Watch as the base for the Apple Watch Hermès, but upgrades it with three Hermès leather watch bands: Single Tour ($1,100 model, 38mm or 42mm), Double Tour ($1,250 model, only 38mm), or Cuff ($1,500 model, only 42mm), representing a premium of over $500 to $900 depending on the band. Here are some third-party alternatives that let you achieve the same basic look without dropping the extra cash….
If you haven’t yet found your perfect Apple Watch strap among the company’s own offerings or the numerous third-party options, Apple has today officially launched its partnership with French leather fashion company Hermès.
Uncompromising craftsmanship. Pioneering innovation. Groundbreaking functionality. Apple Watch Hermès is the culmination of a partnership based on parallel thinking, singular vision and mutual regard. It is a unique timepiece designed with both utility and beauty in mind. With leather straps handmade by Hermès artisans in France and an Hermès watch face reinterpreted by Apple designers in California, Apple Watch Hermès is a product of elegant, artful simplicity — the ultimate tool for modern life.
Splashing out between $1100 and $1500 gets you a special version of the stainless steel Watch, with Hermès branding on the back, a number of special watch faces and a choice of three leather straps. Color options depend on the strap, some with suitably exotic-sounding names …
Jony Ive discusses Apple Watch Hermes in new interview, partnership started before Apple Watch was announced
In a new interview posted in the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s Jony Ive and Hermes’ artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas discuss Apple’s first partnership with a luxury fashion brand to create branded Apple Watch models. To recap, on Wednesday, Apple announced Apple Watch Hermes, a collection of watches code signed with the renowned Paris designer. The watches will be available in October.
Ive says the partnership is unprecedented and began before the Apple Watch was even announced to the public, breaking traditional Apple secrecy.