Apple offers several different bands for the Apple Watch, including ones made of stainless steel, leather, and fluoroelastomer. If none of Apple’s options appeal to you, though, you’ll be happy to learn that Apple is planning a program that’ll allow third-parties to sell bands of their own.
The new “Made for Apple Watch” program gives guidelines that companies can use to create a band compatible with the Apple Watch. Some of the rules that bands must meet include withstanding a 72 hour salt mist test, be able to detach easily from the watch, and have a fit that’s snug enough to allow the Watch’s heart rate sensor to function properly. Apple also offers design guidelines to ensure that bands will fit lugs that are used to secure the band to the Watch. Apple says that it’ll offer Apple Watch lugs “soon” through its Made for Apple Watch program.
Apple offers programs like “Made for iPhone” and “Made for iPad” so that third-parties can create accessories for those devices, so it’s not too surprising to see something similar for the Apple Watch. There’s also the fact that Apple considers the Watch to be a fashion item, and while I’m sure that Apple likes the bands that it offers, fashion is a subjective, and band selection could sway the Apple Watch buying decision for some people. It remains to be seen exactly when “Made for Apple Watch” bands will begin to pop up on shelves,