Just a few weeks ago, buzz began circulating that Apple might forgo the introduction of a leather case for its iPhone 15. While the reasons were initially shrouded in mystery, the consensus pointed towards environmental concerns. The ecological footprint of the leather industry is multifaceted. From the methane emissions generated by livestock, deforestation driven by the need for cattle feed, to the pollutants released during prevalent tanning procedures, the industry has faced scrutiny.
The potential decision by Apple to skip the leather case is significant. Apple's leather accessories have been a staple since 2013, undoubtedly contributing a tidy sum to their revenue. However, emerging intel suggests that Apple's distancing from leather might not be limited to just iPhone cases. Recent insights hint at a similar fate for Apple Watch bands, with the company seemingly phasing out stocks of Hermes leather accessories.
Adding to the story, journalist Parker Ortolani recently observed that Hermes appears to have wiped clean any trace of the Apple Watch from its online storefront... “completely removed the Apple Watch from its website. Bands are gone too. None of them show up in search either.” Such a move raises questions about the partnership between these two giants, particularly concerning the Apple Watch.
🚨 Hermès has completely removed the Apple Watch from its website. Bands are gone too. None of them show up in search either. AirTags are still listed though.— Parker Ortolani (@ParkerOrtolani) September 10, 2023
First image is what's live, second is what it used to be... https://t.co/GT9MZMZAr9 pic.twitter.com/peNCDauvPw
In another development, well-known Bloomberg leaker-analyst, Mark Gurman, shared on Sunday that, as per his retail insiders, leather case stocks are dwindling or entirely depleted, hinting at a cleared inventory.
Latest tidbits from retail:— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) September 10, 2023
- Low/no stock of Watch Ultras, watch bands, leather cases, MagSafe wallets, iPhone 12, 13 minis, Pro phones
- Merchandise reset on evening of Sept. 12 with manager call set for after event. Uncharacteristic for event days
- Plan to push USB-C bricks
So, it seems the era of leather at Apple may be drawing to a close. There have also been recent rumors that other materials with larger environmental impact may be on the way out in the near future. Apple's product line includes other materials that aren't exactly eco-champions. Materials like silicone rubber and fluoroelastomer, which currently don't boast recycled origins and pose challenges in recycling, are reportedly on the chopping block. According to MacRumors, these materials will soon give way to "green alternatives of the future." Such changes are poised to impact accessories across the board—from iPhones and Apple Watches to possibly even the AirTag, which, according to Hermes' website, could dodge the leather axe as their AirTag accessories are still offered for sale.
At Infinity Loops we will continue offering our expansive collection of Leather Apple Watch Bands. We are big fans of fine leather workmanship and are proud to be participants in the long history of leather watch bands.