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Apple is once again celebrating Black History Month this year with a whole range of initiatives to spotlight Black businesses and innovation, while also raising awareness of Black history and issues around Black health and wellness.
While much of this revolves around highlighting content from Black creators, Apple is also letting supporters dress up their Apple Watch with a special edition Braided Solo Loop and a matching watch face that builds upon the similar theme from last year.
Although Apple isn’t releasing a special edition of the Apple Watch Series 7 the same way it did with last year’s Black Unity Series 6, the new Black Unity Braided Solo Loop should be more than enough for folks who want to get into the spirit of Black History month and show their support.
The Black Unity Edition of the Apple Watch Series 6 was ultimately just a standard space grey aluminum Apple Watch, with the only major distinction being the words “Black Unity” laser-etched into the circle of text around the rear sensor and a Black Unity Sport Band in the box.
This year, Apple is going with a special edition of the Braided Solo Loop instead, which the company says has been “created by weaving together 16,000 recycled yarn and silicone threads using advanced precision-braiding machinery.”
How to Get the New Watch Face
The Black Unity Braided Solo Loop is accompanied by a new Unity Lights watch face, and unlike last year there’s nothing to download.
As long as you’re running watchOS 8.3 and iOS 15.2 or later, the new face should already be in your Face Gallery.
Here’s how to find it:
- On your iPhone, open the Watch app.
- Tap Face Gallery at the bottom of the screen.
- Unity Lights should appear at the top of this screen, under New Watch Faces. You can also find it by scrolling down to the bottom of the Face Gallery, where it should show up between Typograph and Utility since watch faces are organized alphabetically.
- Tap the Unity Lights watch face.
- Customize it to your preferences, and then tap Add to add it to your Apple Watch.
The Unity Lights face can be configured to either show “the vibrant red and green colours of the Pan-African flag” or with shades of grey instead. You can also choose either a rectangular or circular version, with or without tick marks, and the circular style offers support for up to four complications.
Designed by members and allies of the Black creative community at Apple to celebrate Black history and culture, the Apple Watch Black Unity Braided Solo Loop and matching Unity Lights watch face honors generations of Black people across the African diaspora. This design symbolizes a communal belief in the necessity for a more equitable world. The vibrant red and green colors of the Pan-African flag appear like speckled light across the black band.
The Unity Lights watch face is inspired by Afrofuturism, “a philosophy that explores the Black experience through a narrative of science, technology, and self-empowerment.” Apple is also offering a collection of Afrofuturism-inspired wallpapers that can be downloaded from the Apple Watch product page by clicking on the Find Out More button.
What Else Is Apple Doing for Black History Month?
Beyond accessorizing its wearable, Apple is also celebrating Black History month across nearly all of its services, from Apple Music and Apple Fitness+ to the App Store and even Apple Maps.
On Apple Music, the company will be launching a campaign around the theme Music is Healing, with special episodes of The Message on Apple Music 1, where Ebro Darden, the service’s head of Hip-Hop and R&B editorial, will host in-depth conversations with various guests. Apple notes that these will “contextualize contemporary issues around Black health and wellness, and highlight the historical perspective, achievements, and contributions that Black people have made to culture.”
The Apple Music Browse, Genre, and Radio pages will also feature music programming around the themes of Movement, Black Love, Celebration, and Peace, and Apple Music TV will include full-day takeovers of music videos inspired by the campaign.
Apple Fitness+ is also adding new workouts to pay tribute to Black History Month, while a limited-edition Unity Challenge award will be available on the Apple Watch, which can be earned by users’ closing their Move rings seven days in a row.
A new Time to Walk episode will be released on February 7 featuring activist Ayọ Tometi, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, while Apple will be adding to its just-released Time to Run series with an episode from Fitness+ trainer Cory Wharton-Malcolm, who will coach runners through Atlanta, Georgia, highlighting notable sights like the Birth Home of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.
Apple Podcasts will be featuring a large catalog of shows from Black creators, focused mostly on Black history, health, well-being, and culture, while the App Store will be “spotlighting a full range of apps that are enabling Black health and wellness in all areas of life, from financial to physical and mental well-being.” The App Store editorial team will also be running stories on apps, developers, and influential voices that are “empowering safe environments for Black communities.” Similarly, Apple Books will also focus on Black health and wellness by highlighting authors who have written on these subjects.
Apple Maps Guides will help users learn about Black history and discover Black-owned businesses, including famous Black History Sites in Atlanta, Georgia, National Parks that Honour Black History, and key spots to learn more about Black history in Los Angeles, New York City, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
The Apple TV app and Apple News will also feature curated collections showcasing the work of prominent Black creators, stars, and journalists, focused on themes of deep contemplation, wellness, spirituality, and faith.
Lastly, Apple is also running a Shot on iPhone campaign, “Our Stories,” that features portraits and videos of “four pioneers who are at the nexus of Black history.” An athlete, a costumer designer, a music executive, and a Michelin-starred chef all share stories about their inspiration, life’s work, and philosophy.