Apple execs explain the design philosophy behind Apple Watch bands

Posted:
in Apple Watch
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.

Two Apple executives explain how Apple Watch bands are designed.
Two Apple executives explain how Apple Watch bands are designed.


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.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    The “available here” link to the article does not work for me… 
  • Reply 2 of 13
    I am just working on finding out design philosophy of my shoe laces. I know they are special as I discarded original once and they have special construction and shape to help with loosening tie when walking and doing footwork (seriously you can buy them on Amazon). But I still wonder philosophy that one can make for them...
    mariowincowilliamlondonwilliamhurahara
  • Reply 3 of 13
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 668member
    I am just working on finding out design philosophy of my shoe laces. I know they are special as I discarded original once and they have special construction and shape to help with loosening tie when walking and doing footwork (seriously you can buy them on Amazon). But I still wonder philosophy that one can make for them...
    And the amazing thing about shoelaces is the they are forward and backwards compatible! And it didn’t take a 2T dollar company to come up with it. But between Apple and TSLA they will no doubt release a shoelace that cost $19.99 hyping the comparability and design.
    mariowincotwokatmewelijahgwilliamlondonurahara
  • Reply 4 of 13
    jas99jas99 Posts: 70member
    I am just working on finding out design philosophy of my shoe laces. I know they are special as I discarded original once and they have special construction and shape to help with loosening tie when walking and doing footwork (seriously you can buy them on Amazon). But I still wonder philosophy that one can make for them...
    You scoff but I doubt you have the engineering chops to design these watch bands that function so well and are artfully styled as well. Making stuff that works isn’t easy. 
    StrangeDaystwokatmewF_Kent_DwilliamlondonGeorgeBMaclolliveruraharabeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 5 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,860member
    What on earth are you on about? AW straps aren't comparable to shoelaces, which are completely generic. The case of the AW has a specific shape with specific sloped sides, which match the lugs of straps precisely. That's been the challenge -- changing the case size and shape w/o disrupting the angle w/ the lugs and the millions of straps out there using said lugs. Which is why it's always the first question on any new series version - "Does it work w/ existing straps?"

    But yeah sure, just like shoelaces. 🙄

    F_Kent_Djas99williamlondonauxioGeorgeBMaclolliver
  • Reply 6 of 13
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,860member
    jas99 said:
    I am just working on finding out design philosophy of my shoe laces. I know they are special as I discarded original once and they have special construction and shape to help with loosening tie when walking and doing footwork (seriously you can buy them on Amazon). But I still wonder philosophy that one can make for them...
    You scoff but I doubt you have the engineering chops to design these watch bands that function so well and are artfully styled as well. Making stuff that works isn’t easy. 
    Exactly. That they think it's easy is a testament to the skill with which Apple designers succeeded.
    twokatmewF_Kent_Djas99GeorgeBMaclolliverurahara
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Oh please. You can buy perfectly good alternatives on Amazon for a fraction of the price. That magically work across all models. The shoelaces were a joke but you have your heads so far up where the sun don’t shine you can’t see it. Though the TSLA whistle makes me wonder if someone like Elon couldn’t pull it off!
    williamlondonmikethemartianwilliamhmuthuk_vanalingamurahara
  • Reply 8 of 13
    bulk001 said:
    Oh please. You can buy perfectly good alternatives on Amazon for a fraction of the price. That magically work across all models. The shoelaces were a joke but you have your heads so far up where the sun don’t shine you can’t see it. Though the TSLA whistle makes me wonder if someone like Elon couldn’t pull it off!
    Sure, but they use the lug design that apple developed.
    williamlondonDetnatorGeorgeBMaclolliverurahara
  • Reply 9 of 13
    The article about watch bands includes a photo where two are clearly attached incorrectly.  :#
    edited December 2021
  • Reply 10 of 13
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,067member
    The article about watch bands includes a photo where two are clearly attached incorrectly.  :#
    Which photo? I looked closely at all of them, but it wasn’t clear to me at all. 
    urahara
  • Reply 11 of 13
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,089member
    jas99 said:
    I am just working on finding out design philosophy of my shoe laces. I know they are special as I discarded original once and they have special construction and shape to help with loosening tie when walking and doing footwork (seriously you can buy them on Amazon). But I still wonder philosophy that one can make for them...
    You scoff but I doubt you have the engineering chops to design these watch bands that function so well and are artfully styled as well. Making stuff that works isn’t easy. 
    Exactly. That they think it's easy is a testament to the skill with which Apple designers succeeded.

    I am still wearing the band I got with my Apple Watch series 0 -- what is it now? 6 or 7 years old?  And, after being worn all day, everyday for over 2,200 consecutive days, it still looks great and works great.   I do a lot running (and sweating) so I typically soak it in my hot tub after a run.  But occasionally I remove it from the watch & scrub the accumulated salt off with a brush with soap & hot water -- but that hasn't affected it at all.

    I wonder how the Samsung or FitBit bands would compare?  I doubt I would be able to say the same.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    Japhey said:
    The article about watch bands includes a photo where two are clearly attached incorrectly.  :#
    Which photo? I looked closely at all of them, but it wasn’t clear to me at all. 
    1st image carousel in article body, image 1: White sport band on RHS is flipped (curved notch should face inwards not outwards, lug misaligned as they won’t clip into place this way). Nike band on LHS of same photo(and also photo 3): Nipple faces inward, nipple should always face outwards, which is why the band tail is not able to be tucked away.
    Either photographer had no idea or deliberately messed it up.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,067member
    Japhey said:
    The article about watch bands includes a photo where two are clearly attached incorrectly.  :#
    Which photo? I looked closely at all of them, but it wasn’t clear to me at all. 
    1st image carousel in article body, image 1: White sport band on RHS is flipped (curved notch should face inwards not outwards, lug misaligned as they won’t clip into place this way). Nike band on LHS of same photo(and also photo 3): Nipple faces inward, nipple should always face outwards, which is why the band tail is not able to be tucked away.
    Either photographer had no idea or deliberately messed it up.
    I guess I didn’t look as closely as I thought, lol. 
    Good eye. 
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