The three Apple Watch Ultra bands unveiled Wednesday look suitably rugged for the new smartwatch designed for extreme athletes. And if you want to inject a little bit of the Ultra’s rugged sensibility into your regular old Apple Watch, you’re in luck … kinda sorta maybe.
The new $99 bands fit some regular Apple Watches, according to Apple’s website. However, a caveat from Cupertino makes it seem like an Ultra band on a Series 7 or 8 watch might not look as seamless as usual.
Apple Watch Ultra bands
“The Trail Loop, Alpine Loop, and Ocean Band are designed for Apple Watch Ultra and pair best with the 49mm case size,” Apple says on its website. “The bands are also compatible with 44mm and 45mm cases.”
Ever since the Apple Watch arrived in 2015, interchangeable bands have been one of the wearable’s key features. The smart decision to let Apple Watch owners quickly and easily swap out bands made the device perfect for nearly all occasions. This quickly led to a cottage industry of third-party Apple Watch bands suitable for a variety of adventures.
Donning a tux? Slide on a silvery Milanese Loop. Hitting the gym? Opt for a Braided Solo loop. Ready for a hot night on the town? Strap on a stylish leather band or something gold and glittery for the dancefloor.
Ultra bands built for athletes
Each of the new Apple Watch Ultra bands retails for $99 and comes in three colors. The polyester Alpine Loop comes in starlight (whitish), green and orange. The Ocean Band — a fluoroelastomer beast that looks like an exaggerated Leather Link band — comes in midnight (blue), white and a particularly eye-catching yellow.
The nylon Trail Loop, the most ordinary-looking of the trio, comes in yellow/beige, blue/gray and black/gray.
Cupertino designed the new Apple Watch Ultra bands for three specific types of athletes: endurance athletes, explorers and divers.
Here’s a description of the Apple Watch Ultra bands from Apple’s press release, issued after Wednesday’s Far Out event:
Designed specifically for endurance athletes and runners, the Trail Loop band is the thinnest Apple Watch band to date. The lightweight woven textile is both soft and flexible, allowing it to cinch to the optimal fit, and the convenient tab is designed for quick and easy adjustment.
With explorers in mind, the Alpine Loop band features two integrated layers made from one continuous weaving process that eliminates the need for stitching. The top loops, interspersed with high-strength yarn, provide adjustability and a secure attachment for the titanium G-hook fastener.
The Ocean Band is designed specifically for extreme water sports and recreational diving with a titanium buckle and corresponding spring-loaded loop. Molded from a flexible fluoroelastomer, it stretches and utilizes the tubular geometry for a secure fit. The Ocean Band also has an optional extra-long tail that allows users to comfortably wear over a wetsuit.
Each of the bands looks more rugged and adventure-ready than Apple’s previous offerings. Some third-party vendors offer similarly sporty options, but it will be interesting to see how these new bands work with regular Apple Watches.