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Apple prepares for the end of leather Apple Watch bands with staff discounts

Hermes Apple Watch Series 7

Apple could discontinue its use of leather watch bands for the Apple Watch Series 9, it is rumored, with Apple employees said to be receiving major discounts on Hermes bands as Apple winds down its leather stock.

Numerous rumors have surfaced throughout August about Apple switching to a woven composite fabric from its use of leather, affecting iPhone cases and Apple Watch bands. In the latter's case, the shift from leather may fully happen in September's event, and Apple has been preparing for the occasion.

In Tuesday X posts, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman offered an assumption that Apple will move away from the Apple Watch bands after commenting about the leather-free iPhone 15 case leaks. In a later update, Gurman adds that Apple has been trying to cut down its stock of leather bands.

"I'm told that Apple last month started offering employees its Hermes leather accessories (and leather link bands) at up to 90% off," Gurman writes. This is viewed by Gurman as a clearing of the last remaining inventory.

These discounts are very steep, with Gurman pointing out that a Hermes band that would normally cost around $850 is being sold to Apple employees for $85.

While discounts to Apple employees are usually a sign that a product line is being cleared out or ended completely, it seems doubtful that Apple would completely sever connections with another complementary premium brand like Hermes.

Hermes bands aren't the only things being sold in this way, with accessories including Solo Loop bands in outgoing colors and the MagSafe charging dock also discounted for staff.

The switch compels Gurman to forecast that the environment and sustainability will "be a larger than normal part of the September 12th launch."