Apple Watch starting price slashed to $299 – CNET

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Apple has updated its smartwatch with colorful new bands and a price cut.


Consumers eyeing an Apple Watch will now be able to save a bit of money.

At its iPhone event on Monday, Apple announced a price cut for its smartwatch, trimming the starting price to $299, from $349. That’s the first price cut for the wearable device since Apple introduced it a year ago.

The price drop applies specifically to the entry-level Apple Watch Sport model.

For people looking for different bands beyond the existing lineup, Apple also introduced a new woven nylon band available in four colors. The company also unveiled a space black version of the Milanese Loop, which had previously come only in silver. Plus, there are sport and leather bands in new colors.

“People also love changing the bands and how it gives the watch an entirely new look,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the event at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. “About a third of our Apple Watch wearers regularly change their bands.”

The Apple Watch has become the dominant device in the growing market for smartwatches. But the company faces competition from other players such as Samsung, LG and Motorola, along with more traditional watchmakers including Tag Heuer. Although demand for wearables has risen over the past couple of years, many consumers still don’t see these gadgets as must-have items. Adding new bands and watch faces is one way for Apple to broaden the appeal of its smartwatch.

The Apple Watch is part smartwatch, part fitness and activity tracker and part companion to the iPhone. The watch is available in three flavors: the entry-level Sport version now starting at $299, the Apple Watch starting at $549, and the Apple Watch Edition starting at $10,000 and competing with high-end luxury watches.

Although it’s been about a year since the company pushed out the first Apple Watch, a second-generation version may not launch until later this year. In the meantime, Apple has been updating the device with new bands and new software.

In September, the company unveiled new variations of the Sport model, offering a color choice of gold or rose gold in anodized aluminum. The stainless steel model Apple Watch also became available in a space black version that comes with a black sport band or special Product Red band. The same month, Apple updated its smartwatch with watchOS 2, the operating system software that makes the device tick.

How has Apple’s first wearable been selling?

Apple doesn’t release specific sales figures for its Apple Watch, which launched in April 2015, instead lumping the device into a category called “other products.” That leaves the job of estimating sales to third-party research firms, such as IDC.

Apple ended 2015 with a 61 percent slice of the smartwatch market, IDC said in December, a higher share than all of the other players combined. For the year, Apple shipped 13 million units of its Apple Watch, also surpassing total shipments of all the other smartwatch makers.

For 2016, Apple is expected to remain the dominant player, according to IDC. Though its share of the smartwatch market will drop to 49 percent as more companies hop on board, shipments are projected to increase to 14 million. By 2020, Apple’s smartwatch cut is expected to decline to 37 percent, IDC added, but its shipments will jump to 31 million.

See all of the news from Apple’s March 21 event.

Apple Watch starting price slashed to $299 – CNET