Apple drops the price of the Apple Watch to $ 299

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The Apple Watch turned 1 this month. To celebrate, Apple slashed its starting price to $ 299 and gave it a few new bands as well.

CEO Tim Cook presented the new price and new accessories at a special event in Cupertino on Monday.

For Apple Watch users, the device has become “an essential part of their daily life,” Cook said. People also like to switch groups, he added – about a third of existing customers already do so because it changes the “look”.

The new bracelets are made from four layers of woven nylon and are available in seven different colors: black, white, pink, red and gold, blue and gold, royal blue and “diving blue”. Each option costs $ 49.

nylon keynote apple strip
Apple describes the new straps as “comfortable” with “a feel of fabric”.

Apple also introduced new colors for its existing “Classic Buckle”, “Modern Buckle”, “Leather Loop” and “Milanese Loop” bands.

But will a lower price and new bands be enough to keep buyers interested?

After all, there are so many more smartwatches for sale than a year ago. Many cost less than Apple Watches and offer features that Apple Watches don’t, like cellular connection.

Demand for the devices has been lukewarm during the holidays, a period that typically generates a lot of gadget sales. But Apple managed to become the top smartwatch maker in 2015, according to Canalys, Juniper research and IDC. (Apple does not publicly disclose sales figures.)

This lead gives Apple time to make its next watch reflect customer feedback. Some expect the company to launch a new model of the watch in the fall.

Related: Tim Cook: ‘We Will Not Shy Down From This Responsibility’ To Oppose FBI Demands

In order to remain competitive, Apple (AAPL) will need to keep adding more features and apps to his watch so that it can work without an iPhone. (The original iPod became a blockbuster after Apple made it compatible with PCs.) Apple should also consider allowing more retailers to sell the devices and play even more with its pricing model.

The Apple Watch is the company’s first new category of device since CEO Tim Cook took over.

Mainstream watchmakers will likely follow Monday’s news closely. They come together this week at a Baselworld luxury watch event in Basel, Switzerland.

Since Apple launched its Apple Watch, the traditional watch industry has faced headwinds, losing significant sales and profits. In response, companies like Movado and Fossil have had to modify their products and acquire startups to compete in a tech-driven world.

Apple is dropping the price of the Apple Watch to $ 299 for its smaller sport model and introducing new nylon watch straps.

CNNMoney (New York) First published on March 21, 2016: 1:49 p.m. ET


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