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Nicole

The Toms, Apple Collaboration Points to a New Direction for the Smart Watch

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The unlikely pair makes more sense than you think.

When buying an Apple Watch, customers have just a couple of choices for bands. There are, of course, in-house options from Apple, high-end bands from Hérmes, and sporty picks from Nike. The latest added to that triumvirate is a bit surprising: shoe brand Toms.

Yes, the OG one-for-one company is getting into the watch band business, and worked with Apple to create a pair of bands that each come in multiple colors, for people looking to bring a bit of granola flair to their techy wrists.

Toms is still finding a way to give back through the bands, but not via a straight one-for-one model. Instead, for every Toms for Apple Watch band purchased, households in need will be given one year of solar light. In total, Toms hopes to provide 10,000 years of solar light.

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The cause is unquestionably great, but Toms getting into this space does inspire a couple queries. When the watch first launched, Apple pushed the product hard to fashion consumers. It had a 12-page spread in Vogue, was on the cover of Vogue China, and special editions were gifted to people like Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld.

That direction has cooled a bit. In September, our sister site The Verge wrote that “Apple’s luxury watch dream is over.” Sales are also down; according to CNN, they’ve dropped 55% since the early 2015 launch, despite the fact that Apple released a new, cheaper version. Given all that, it makes sense that now they’re working with a brand like Toms. Prices are relatively low — just $49 and $75 — for each band.

The new relationship is mutually beneficial: Apple has something new to offer its customers that’ll appeal to a more casual crowd, and Toms gets to benefit from the tech giant’s authority and fanbase. “We’re excited to reach Apple’s wide audience and their loyal fans,” Toms founder Blake Mycoskie said over email.

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