The Latest on Apple: Price cut, new bands for Apple Watch

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

The Latest from Apple's product announcement in California (all times local):

10:40 a.m.

Apple is cutting the price of its smartwatch and introducing an array of new bands in an attempt to spur more sales of a gadget that hasn't won a big following yet.

Prices for the Apple Watch will start at $299, down from $349. Apple is also releasing a new type of wristband made of woven nylon, along with more colors for existing types of bands.

The expanded variety is designed to appeal to the roughly one-third of Apple watch owners who like to switch bands.

The highly anticipated Apple Watch was released a year ago, but sales haven't met some of analysts' more bullish predictions. While Apple hasn't released figures, IDC's analysts estimate the tech giant shipped 11.6 million watches last year.

— Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer, San Francisco

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10:20 a.m.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is reiterating his pledge to resist the U.S. government's demands for the company's help to unlock an encrypted iPhone used by one of the killers in the San Bernardino mass shootings.

Cook opened a product event in California on Monday by saying that Apple owes it to its customers to protect their privacy and the personal information they store on iPhones. He says he is "humbled and deeply gratified" by the outpouring of support he has received.

He has vowed to fight a federal magistrate's order requiring Apple to create special software that would override the iPhone's security features and allow the FBI to hack into the device used by the San Bernardino killer in a suspected case of terrorism.

Apple says that doing so could leave all iPhones vulnerable to future hacking attempts, although federal prosecutors contend they're only asking Apple to write code that would work with one phone to protect national security.

Federal magistrate Sheri Pym, who issued the order, will hear arguments from both sides in a Riverside, California, courtroom on Tuesday.

— Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer, San Francisco

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9:30 a.m.

Apple product events typically spark anticipation among tech bloggers and the company's hard-core fans. Monday's event, though, is drawing less excitement than some previous product launches.

Apple is expected to announce a smaller, 4-inch iPhone and a smaller version of the iPad Pro tablet.

But there's been no hint of any blockbuster developments, such as last year's highly anticipated Apple Watch debut. Despite speculation that Apple is working on a self-driving car or some new virtual-reality device, those are likely years away.

The event starts at 10 a.m. PDT at Apple's Cupertino, California, headquarters.

Gartner tech analyst Brian Blau says it's not unusual for Apple to save major announcements until the fall. He says the company's spring events are often focused on products that Apple considers important, but which may not be its biggest sellers.

— Brandon Bailey, AP Technology Writer, Cupertino, California.