This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2015-09-09 at 6:28 p.m.
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Apple Watch Gains New Bands, watchOS 2 Ship Date

by Jeff Carlson

At its fall media event, Apple unveiled a host of new bands to complement the Apple Watch — including a new luxury entrant — as well as a 16 September 2015 release date for the next version of the device’s software, watchOS 2 [1].

Unveiled several months ago at WWDC (see “Apple’s watchOS 2 to Gain Native Apps, Third-Party Complications [2],” 8 June 2015), watchOS 2 can run native apps on the watch instead of being just a front end for apps on the iPhone, as in the current watchOS. Several native apps were mentioned, including iTranslate and GoPro, and Dr. Cameron Powell of AirStrip Technologies [3] demonstrated an AirStrip app that lets doctors review patient information during rounds, access real-time vital statistics, and communicate with other professionals, all with HIPAA privacy measures in place. He also demonstrated Sense4Baby, an app (in coordination with a custom Sense4Baby sensor) that can record a pregnant woman’s heart rate, the baby’s heart rate, and the rate of any contractions — while allowing the pregnant woman to listen to the baby’s heart — and send that to a physician.

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The Apple Watch’s internals aren’t changing yet (most likely we’ll see that next year), but Apple did add two colored aluminum finishes, gold and rose gold [5]. Also added to the lineup are an assortment of additional bands, including lavender, antique white, stone, midnight blue, orange, and (PRODUCT)RED sport bands, and a two-toned leather Classic Buckle in black or saddle brown.

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For the luxury market, Apple Watch Hermès [7] editions not only offer a stainless steel case and three leather band styles, but also a custom Hermès watch face to match. Prices range from $1,100 to $1,500.

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The new models are available now; the Hermès models will be available in October 2015, but only in select Apple retail stores.