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Apple Is Giving Its Flag-Themed Watch Bands to Olympic Athletes

Athletes can reportedly gain two free bands from the Apple Store in Rio after showing proof of being an Olympian, a report notes
August 15, 2016

Apple is, according to a recent report, giving Apple Watch-themed bands away to Olympic athletes at its Apple Store in Rio, allowing the company to gain product presence at the Games without being an official sponsor.

Apple's move is a kick in the teeth for Samsung.

The news comes from (via 9to5mac), which explains that Olympic athletes competing in the Rio Games can call in at the VillageMall Apple Store in order to pick up two free bands, provided they show proof of being an Olympian. The article cites a firsthand report from one of Germany’s Olympic team managers. The bands, which are available for this month from Rio’s VillageMall Apple Store only, retail for $49 apiece and are available in 14 different flag designs.

This, as 9to5mac observes, could be a kick in the teeth for Samsung, which has been a longtime sponsor of the Olympic Games and which is offering an Olympic Games edition of its Galaxy S7 Edge handset. Apple isn’t breaking any rules, however; it can do what it likes, provided it doesn’t use the Olymic Games logo, the Rio 2016 logo, or “our look,” Sylmara Multini, director of licenseing and retail for the Rio Games, told Reuters earlier this month.

As one Twitter user noted, the special bands also have special boxes, too. It’s all a very smart move by Apple to gain product presence at Rio without sponsoring the Games officially.

Next month, Apple is expected to unveil a couple of new Apple Watch models: a faster first-generation model, and a fully-fledged second-generation upgrade. Though, if you were to ask me, I’d argue that a second-gen model only will appear from Apple. This “Apple Watch 2” could feature GPS, additional health features, and a minor redesign. Of course, we’ll keep you posted with further information as we receive it.

If you’re looking for some great third-party Apple Watch bands, be sure to check out our guide on WatchAware.