With the Apple Watch set to launch on Friday, Apple is taking steps to protect the design of its latest product -- as well as the straps that fasten them to its users. So copycats beware: The designs of three Apple Watch bands are now patented.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple Inc. patents covering the design of the Apple Watch's sport band, classic buckle and link band. The sport band comes standard with all Apple Watch Sport purchases, and the classic buckle is available for the Apple Watch and 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition.
While Apple also offers the stainless steel link band for sale in its own stores, it has given celebrities such as Beyoncé and designer Karl Lagerfeld special gold bands to go with their Edition Apple Watches. And unlike traditional link watch bands, Apple’s band can be adjusted without any tools. All that’s needed is a press of a button on individual links and users can separate them from the band to adjust its size.
Last month, Apple was also granted a design patent for its modern buckle, which is available only for its smaller 38mm watch. Unlike the classic buckle, which uses a traditional hole and peg, the modern buckle uses a magnetic locking mechanism to secure the watch.
Apple credits several of its employees for each band, including but not limited to senior vice president of design Jonathan Ive, designer Marc Newson and designer Christopher Stringer. Though Apple hasn’t released any official preorder numbers, the latest estimates from Think Big Analytics market researcher Carl Howe place global preorders at 3 million units.