3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) has been known for their ability to stay ahead of their competition when it comes to 3D printing. It’s not just the 3D printing industry that they have been targeting as of late though. Their ‘first to market’ attitude can be seen today with Apple’s announcement of their much anticipated Apple Watch, as 3D Systems has been wasting no time in working with a company called FreshFiber in order to create uniquely designed 3D printed Apple Watch bands.
As most of the world knows, today was the much anticipated Apple event, in which the company officially unveiled the Apple Watch, a product that has been seemingly talked about for a couple years now. The watch, which includes many of the familiar features seen on the iPhone 6, will allow users to make phone calls, check into flights, see the latest happenings on their social networks, open doors and much more, from the convenience of their own wrists. These watches will have 18 hours of battery life, and their own special interface, which allows users to browse and download different apps built specifically for the watch itself.
Of course, one of the most interesting aspects of these watches, which will start at $349 and go up to over $10,000 for some models, are their ability to be customized, specifically the watches’ bands. There will be many bands to choose from at your local Apple store as well as online. However, it will be the third-party bands which could really make for some interesting looking and unique watches. After all no one will want a watch that looks identical to their friend’s. Today, 3D Systems and FreshFiber unveiled some prototype designs for their own 3D printed Apple Watch bands, which will be available sometime soon via the Cubify website.
“We’re planning to do some interchangeable bands much like what we’ve done with the Nooka watches, Alyssa Hoyt, Director of Marketing for 3D Systems tells 3DPrint.com. “There’s no direct tie with Apple — this is just something we’ve been concepting for the watch and may extend to other smart watches.”
The watch bands, will be 3D printed in Everlast (nylon) material using 3D Systems’ Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) machines, and they will be available exclusively on Cubify. As you can see in the photos provided, the watch bands certainly have a unique look to them.
We are told that these watch bands are still in the “concept phase” so we can expect the designers at FreshFiber to make some more adjustments after today’s official unveiling. As for pricing, there has been nothing set in stone as of yet, but Hoyt tells us that they will probably be priced somewhere between their Freshfiber phone cases and the Nooka watches — $40 – $99 depending on the chosen pattern and particular material used.
Undoubtedly 3D printing will play a major role in the future of the Apple watch. We expect to see more companies bringing custom Apple Watch bands to market in the near future. For now though, it appears as though 3D Systems and FreshFiber are ahead of the curve. The Apple watch will be available for pre-order starting on April 10, with shipments beginning on April 24. It should be interesting to see if 3D Systems will have these available in time for shipments as well.
What do you think about these 3D printed Apple Watch bands? Discuss in the FreshFiber Apple Watch Band forum thread on 3DPB.com.