The new Apple Watch Nike+ was designed to take on activity trackers and specialized athletic smartwatches, and marked the return to wearables for Nike.
The big question was when the Apple Watch Nike+ would actually be available, and now we have the answer. Apple has updated the product page to show you can order one starting October 28.
Nike Bounces Back from FuelBand
The Nike+ FuelBand was an early entry in the fitness tracker space. The wristband was released in 2012 and connected to an iPhone or Android smartphone to track users’ activity stats. Although it quickly sold out when it was first released, the FuelBand ran into stiff competition from the likes of Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT). Nike closed down production in 2014.
There was speculation at that time that Nike and AAPL might be able to work together for future wearables, with the new Apple Watch providing the hardware while Nike designed the software.
That prediction turned out to be spot on.
Apple Watch Nike+
The Apple Watch Nike+ is actually a stock Apple Watch Series 2. It comes with a choice of more aggressively athletic-looking Sport Bands, there are several watch faces that are exclusive to the model and it has a complication for the Nike+ Run Club app. And the Nike logo.
Given the impressive health and fitness cred of the Series 2, however, the Apple Watch Nike+ makes for a compelling sports smartwatch. There is onboard GPS, a full complement of sensors, including heart rate tracking, a bright display for outdoor use and water resistance to 165 feet for swimming.
Fitness trackers remain the hottest category in wearables, but the line between these devices and smartwatches continues to blur. Fitbit has begun releasing new products like the Blaze that look like a smartwatch and offer some smartwatch functionality, like notifications. Apple and other smartwatch makers — recognizing that fitness tracking is the primary reason many people buy a wearable — have been focusing on adding more health and fitness capabilities to their offerings.
One company that figured this trend out early and ran with it is Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN). It’s been pushing a line of sports and fitness watches like the Vivoactive and that focus has made it the fifth largest seller of smartwatches.
AAPL is already a player in the fitness smartwatch game with the Apple Watch Sport. However, the Nike logo, Nike+ software integration and aggressive styling of the Apple Watch Nike+ have a good chance of helping the company to gain more ground. It’s possible that prominent athletes with Nike endorsement deals may be soon spotted wearing the new smartwatch, which wouldn’t just be good for Nike, it would help promote the Apple Watch as well.
It’s also worth noting that Nike is a very popular brand in China. Offering a new Apple Watch with the Nike Swoosh on it could well help AAPL to move more units in that country.
The Nike partnership could also pay dividends for Apple on the fashion front. Nike has many fans who buy the brand’s clothing and accessories based purely on the looks and the logo. For this demographic, the Apple Watch Nike+ is the wearable that complements their style.
The Apple Watch Nike+ goes on sale Oct. 28, with prices starting at $369.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.