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In a novel development to commemorate Black History Month this year, Apple has just released its first-ever limited-edition Apple Watch model, a variation on the Series 6 that anchors a broad range of initiatives that the company has announced for next month.
Although Apple has released special edition versions of its Apple Watch in the past — most notably the (PRODUCT)RED model — along with limited-edition Apple Watch bands, this is the first time the company has produced a limited edition of the actual Apple Watch itself.
Dubbed “Black Unity” the new Apple Watch Series 6 is part of an entire Black Unity Collection that includes a Black Unity Sport Band, along with the Black Unity Watch Face that already made an appearance last week in watchOS 7.3 RC.
Although it’s only labelled as “Unity” in that version, from its visual appearance and description it’s clearly part of the collection that Apple is speaking of, although it’s not yet clear if the watch face will offer some additional enhancements when used on the actual Black Unity Apple Watch.
The Black Unity Sport Band follows the same colour scheme as the watch face, representing the Pan-African flag, which Apple describes as: “red for the blood that unites people of the African Diaspora and was shed for their liberation, black for the people whose existence is affirmed by the flag, and green for the vibrant natural wealth of Africa, the Motherland.”
The band is made from individual pieces of coloured fluoroelastomer which have been assembled by hand and compression-molded into a single piece, while the interior of the stainless steel fastening pin includes the words “Truth. Power. Solidarity.” Last-engraved on the inside.
The Black Unity Apple Watch Series 6 unit itself appears to be a standard space grey aluminum model, with the major difference being the inclusion of “Black Unity” laser-etched into the circle of text around the rear sensor.
Most notably, however, Apple will be using the Apple Watch Black Unity Collection to support six global organizations that promote equality and civil rights, including the Black Lives Matter Support Fund via the Tides Foundation; European Network Against Racism; International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights; Leadership Conference Education Fund; NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.; and Souls Grown Deep.
The Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity and the Black Unity Sport Band are expected to be available starting February 1, while the Unity watch face is coming as part of watchOS 7.3 that’s expected to arrive later today. Although the Black Unity Apple Watch will only be available for the month of February, Apple plans to continue selling the Black Unity Sport Band throughout the year.
Celebrating Black History Month
The Apple Watch Black Unity Collection is only one part of a pretty big list of other things that Apple will be doing this year to celebrate Black History Month.
On the Apple Watch side, there’s also a new Unity Activity Challenge that will offer up a limited-edition award simply by closing your Move ring seven days in a row anytime during the month of February — and you don’t need the Black Unity Apple Watch to participate.
Apple is also adding a collection of themed workouts to Apple Fitness+ that will feature all Black artists across all the different workout types, paying tribute by featuring individual songs. The first new episode that will be released next week for Apple’s new Time to Walk workouts will also feature author Ibram X. Kendi who will reflect on racial justice and resiliency.
As it’s done in previous years, Apple is also featuring curated content in various highlighted sections throughout the App Store, Apple Music, the Apple TV app, Apple Books, Apple Podcasts, and Apple News, featuring Black-owned app developers, artists, books, films, TV shows, podcasts, and more, including a special free Apple TV+ episode of The Oprah Conversation featuring a panel discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson on her book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.
Thanks to the new Apple Maps Guides feature introduced with iOS 14 this year, Apple will also be adding specially curated guides developed in collaboration with EatOkra that will help users find and support Black-owned restaurants in their local communities.
Lastly, Apple is also introducing a series of virtual Today at Apple sessions “exploring the power of creativity to bring about change,” led by Black creatives who will share their own creative practices and sources of inspiration.
A new “Hometown” Shot on iPhone campaign will also begin in February to highlight the work of more than 30 Black photographers who were commissioned by Apple to capture unique perspectives on American cities from New York to Los Angeles and more.