Apple Starts Selling Limited-Edition Olympic Apple Watch Bands

You've gotta go to Rio if you want one of these

If you happen to be in Brazil for the Olympics, then you can get your hands on some new limited-release Apple Watch bands. Apple has unveiled a line of country-specific Apple Watch bands that will be exclusively available in the country.

In fact, the Apple Watch bands are so exclusive they’re only being sold in one store: the VillageMall Apple Store in Barra de Tijuca. There you can purchase one of the bands for $49, the same price as the Apple Watch Sport bands, in the country colors of one of 14 competing nations.

Options include Great Britain, The United States, The Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand, Mexico, Japan, Jamaica, Canada, China,  Australia, Brazil, Germany, and France. The bands are nylon, similar to those Apple released for the Apple Watch earlier this year, which will make them durable enough to handle a beating from athletes that decide to sport one, but light enough that they aren’t going to cause a wrist sweating problem in the hot Rio sun. The Apple Watch bands are, of course, simple to swap out. So these could be nice to have on hand for special occasions as well.

The fact that the bands are only available at one store in the world (you can’t even buy them online), means that they’re also likely to be a hot collector's item. People tend to love what they can’t easily get, and a limited-edition band from the site of the Olympics in your country’s colors certainly fits that bill.

One American athlete, Trayvon Bromell, has already scored one of the USA-themed Apple Watch bands for himself. The sprinter tweeted a photo of the band earlier this month with the message “Ready for Rio!” Also on Bromell’s arm was a tattoo of the Olympic rings, so you know he’s excited (as well he should be).

Over the last year, Apple has become more and more focused on making the Apple Watch a personalized device. While the basic body of the Apple Watch remains the same for everyone, with differences just coming in the form of the materials used to make it, the bands have been a big focus point for the company. Whereas in the beginning, you were only able to purchase a band along with your Apple Watch that corresponds with the type of Watch you were purchasing, Apple later went on to make the inaugural bands available individually. It’s also launched a number of other Apple Watch bands over the past year, several in conjunction with designers such as Hermes and Coach.

If you’re looking to spruce up your Apple Watch, there are also a number of third-party manufacturers that sell Apple Watch bands. On Amazon, for instance, you can pick up a leader Apple Watch band in almost any color you can think of for just a fraction of the cost you would pay for the “real” thing from the Apple Store.

Given the exceptionally limited-edition nature of the Olympic-themed Apple Watch bands, it’s interesting that Apple chose to price these how they did and sell them in store rather than online. Given the in-store element, it’s possible that the company wanted to restrict sales to those that actually attended the Olympics personally.

This is the first time Apple has offered Apple Watch bands exclusive to an event. It will be interesting to see going forward if​ the company decides to do something similar for other major events. Currently here are not any official Apple Watch bands available that promote any particular cause or event, nor any official bands for sports teams. The sports space, in particular, could be interesting for Apple.  For instance, it could opt to start selling bands for local teams exclusively in those stores. So, you might find a Cubs band in Chicago, and Yankees band in New York.

Anything is possible, we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

One thing that's bound to happen soon: a new Apple Watch. that could potentially change the game for all of the existing Apple Watch accessories, including Apple Watch bands.