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

Apple Watches in new colors are displayed during an Apple media event in San FranciscoApple Watches in new colors are displayed during an Apple media event in San Francisco

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.”


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?