The 2022 Apple Watch Pride band may not be the representation we need

Experimental street dancer Jin Lee Baobei, wearing the new Pride Edition Sport Loop band for Apple Watch
(Image credit: Apple / Collier Schorr)

Apple has unveiled a new 2022 Pride band for the Apple Watch.

The new Sport Loop style band was designed by members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community at Apple and features a simple rainbow running the length of the band. The word “Pride” has been woven into it in the style of the “Hello” greeting displayed on the original Macintosh back in 1984. 

It’s available to order today for $49 / £49 / AU$69  from, the Apple Store app, and in Apple Store locations beginning May 26. The band is compatible with the Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch 4 or newer (right up to the Apple Watch 7).

A new Nike Pride Edition Sport Loop is also available; it features a similar rainbow design but adds in black stripes and removes the Macintosh style “Pride”.

At the same time as unveiling the new bands, Apple announced a  Shot on iPhone pride campaign. On its Instagram (@apple) the brand will feature a series of works from creatives that celebrate “present-day queer pioneers in places of historic significance to the LGBTQ+ movement.” 

But while these efforts might raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ community – they stop short of the kind of meaningful impact Apple could be offering. Which is a shame given Apple’s track record in supporting LGBTQ+ causes. 

Pink Capitalism 101 

Pink capitalism (also known as rainbow capitalism) is a practice where businesses specifically try and target members of the LGBTQ+ community with their products and services. By releasing rainbow-colored items and supportive ads around Pride month, companies hope to be branded as allies and, as a result, draw in queer folk as customers.

Unfortunately, while some businesses are genuine in their support of the community, others that engage in pink capitalism are in it just for the money. During Pride month some PR points are scored and substantial revenue is generated, but when it’s all over the companies go back to ignoring the LGBTQ+ community.

Recently, Apple looks to have been making a concerted effort to avoid falling into that latter category.

Its CEO Tim Cook, himself a proud member of the community, expressed concern around Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill – albeit without directly referring to it. Around a month later Apple cosigned – and, according to Politico, privately spearheaded – a letter aimed at pushing back against other American lawmakers trying to create anti-trans laws. 

In the past, it has also donated to charities like Encircle and The Trevor Project to name just a couple.

Pride flags and hands in a heart

The LGBTQ+ community needs support more than ever (Image credit: Shutterstock/lazyllama)

But this Pride band reveal falls short of what we’ve come to expect.

In the face of laws like Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, Apple’s Pride Band announcement could have done a lot more. This isn’t some small mom-and-pop store, this is Apple – one of the world’s biggest and most influential businesses. As such, it could leverage some impressive power in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality.

As part of this product release, it could have announced a boycott of states and countries that restrict gay and trans rights – or something else that goes beyond its typical purely financial support.

When we reached out to Apple to ask if it had plans to donate a portion of the revenue it'll generate from this year's Pride band to LGBTQ+ charities and groups a representative responded by saying "Yes – we are proud to build on our long-running support for LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations working to bring about positive change."

We'll have to see how this support continues to materialize in 2022, and hopefully, it'll be a little better than just a rainbow-clad Apple Watchstrap. In the ongoing battle against anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and practices, allies can’t afford to put in minimal effort.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.