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Apple Watches in new colors are displayed during an Apple media event in San Francisco
© Beck Diefenbach / Reuters REUTERS

Target, Best Buy, and B&H Slash Prices on Apple Watches by $100

I've been vaguely aware—and generally skeptical—of rumors that Apple would introduce a second Apple Watch in March, 12 months after its first. A one-year life cycle seemed too short for something purchased—at least by the $10,000-plus crowd—as a Rolex-ish luxury item.

Rumors are cheap, but cash is real, especially when it represents a discount of as much as 29%. So the news Thursday that Target, Best Buy, and B&H—all authorized Apple resellers—slashed $100 off their inventory of Apple Watches sent me to the wayback machine to see where exactly those rumors came from.

They go back two months:

  • Dec. 8, 2015: Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac. "Apple is currently planning a March 2016 event to unveil the second-generation Apple Watch, according to sources with knowledge of the plans. The second version of the Apple Watch would then ship by April, nearly a year after the original model first went on sale."
  • Jan. 13, 2016: Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac. "The Chinese technology media site Commercial Times is claiming that Quanta will begin initial production runs of Apple Watch 2 in January, later in the month. This would match current expectations that the next-generation Apple Watch 2 will be launched about a year after the first Apple Watch, around April... The company has tested an assortment of new features for Apple Watch 2, including the addition of a front-facing camera for FaceTime video calls."
  • Jan. 15, 2016: Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch. "Several things that I’ve heard (from several sources) indicate to me that we won’t see a major new hardware model of the Apple Watch in March. Design partnerships, accessories, that kind of thing maybe but not a 'Watch 2.0' with a bunch of new hardware features. I could be wrong, of course, but I’ve heard enough to put it out there."
  • Jan. 16, 2016: Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch Update. "I’ve now heard a bit more that suggests that Apple might ship a minor revision of the Apple Watch that includes a FaceTime camera and not much else—but still that it would not be a full 'Watch 2.0' with casing changes and major improvements. Still no word on timing but that could explain the reports of a camera have been showing up."
  • Feb. 2, 2016: John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed. "Sources in position to know tell BuzzFeed News the company has chosen March 15 as the date it will show off a handful of new products... A selection of new Apple Watch bands is also expected."

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For more on Apple, watch:

New Watch bands? That would puncture the balloon. A camera, on the other hand, would constitute an improvement major enough for many Watch owners to consider trading up.

Apple will eventually release a new Watch, but I'm still skeptical about the timing. Meanwhile, B&H has also cut prices on Apple's first-generation 12-inch MacBook. That's a computer that could use an update.

UPDATE: Reader Jony0 points out that the price cuts appeared a few days before Valentine's Day, which suggests that the discounts are loss-leaders (just as they were before Christmas), not harbingers of Apple Watch 2.0. Why didn't I think of that?

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The list of products Apple is rumored to be lining up for a March 15 release now includes the Watch, the Mac, a new iPad Air and a 4-inch iPhone. Should I book a flight to California?

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