Over the years, Apple has been one of the biggest supporters of (RED), the global charity cofounded by U2 frontman Bono that raises money and builds awareness to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries, and now it looks like an Apple Watch may be getting the full (PRODUCT)RED treatment for the first time.
Through a whole slate of (PRODUCT)RED branded products, Apple has by itself contributed more than a third of the $600 million that has been generated by all of the major corporate sponsors behind (RED), but the company has always been slightly particular as to which products it chose to include in the program.
For example, Apple first entered the program back in 2006 with a special edition version of the second-generation iPod nano, and while this later expanded to the iPod shuffle, along with a (PRODUCT)RED gift card, Apple’s iPod touch didn’t join the group until 2012, and it would take another five years after that before an iPhone would get a (PRODUCT)RED version, when Apple brought out a special edition iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in the spring of 2017.
Apple’s Red Products
For the most part, it seemed that Apple’s strategy for (PRODUCT)RED branding on its products was to include only those that were already offered in multiple colours. With only one exception, Apple’s traditional “classic” iPods always stuck to standard black, white, or silver colours, and the more colourful aluminum iPod mini predated (RED) entirely. So the second-generation iPod nano was the first device of that generation to be offered in multiple colours, making it a pretty obvious choice for Apple’s first (PRODUCT)RED iPod.
This was also mostly true of Apple’s iPhone lineup. While the special edition iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models were a departure, Apple’s newer (PRODUCT)RED models are limited to the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 — both versions that are available in a variety of colours, unlike the more traditional colours seen on the iPhone XS and iPhone 11 Pro. If you wanted to sport a (PRODUCT)RED iPhone XS or iPhone 11 Pro, your only option was to put it into one of Apple’s (PRODUCT)RED iPhone cases.
The Apple Watch has mostly followed a similar line; Apple has offered (PRODUCT)RED Apple Watch bands for years, but the Apple Watch itself only come in silver, gold, gray, and black, or white in the case of the more premium Ceramic Edition version.
A Red Apple Watch
If a new report is to be believed, however, it looks like Apple may once again depart from its usual product colour strategy in order to release a (PRODUCT)RED Apple Watch Series 5.
According to WatchGeneration (Google Translate), a reference to a (PRODUCT)RED version of the Apple Watch Series 5 briefly appeared in an Apple internal product database before suddenly disappearing. The report notes that the reference numbers were different from those used for (PRODUCT)RED Apple Watch bands in a way that pointed to it as an actual Apple Watch and not merely an accessory.
Apple’s (PRODUCT)RED offerings have never been offered at the higher-end of the scale, so it’s no surprise that everything that WatchGeneration has found suggests that this will be a standard aluminum version of the Apple Watch, with a red finish similar to what’s used on the iPod touch, rather than a more expensive stainless steel or titanium or ceramic Edition model. The report also suggests we could see a release sometime in the spring.
The red Apple Watch could actually be quite an attractive option, especially since the (PRODUCT)RED bands can look awkward against some of the current casings. It’s unclear what kind of watch band it would ship with, but presumably it would be the (PRODUCT)RED Sport Band that Apple already sells.
It wouldn’t be the first time Apple has done something like this, of course, since it did the same thing with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus back in early 2017, and then repeated that again with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus the following spring. In fact, a spring release of a (PRODUCT)RED version of the Apple Watch Series 5, about 6-8 months after the release of the standard version, would basically be Apple repeating history.