Apple launches new editorial collections, Apple Maps Guides, the Apple Watch Black Unity Collection, Today at Apple sessions, and more
To celebrate Black History Month, Apple is bringing customers a variety of new and updated collections and exclusive content that highlight and amplify Black creators, artists, developers, and businesses. From curated features across the App Store, Apple Music, the Apple TV app, Apple Books, and Apple Podcasts, to new Apple Maps Guides, the Apple Watch Black Unity Collection, Today at Apple sessions, and more, here is a look at what is in store across Apple’s products and services this February.
Throughout February, users can visit the App Store Black History Month Hub, which will spotlight Black-owned businesses, developers, entertainment and gaming apps, and social justice apps. The App Store will also feature stories with Black developers discussing the importance of representation in apps and games, with creators from ustwo games and Zynga.
To honor the Black artists, moments, and movements that have shaped global music and pop culture, Apple Music will launch a monthlong experience across Apple Music, Apple Music radio, and Apple Music TV that highlights some of the most remarkable musicians spanning jazz, blues, soul, gospel, R&B, pop, and hip hop. Throughout February, Apple Music will also feature curated playlists, essays, original videos, and more from Black influencers, musicians, authors, and directors, including Erykah Badu, Naomi Campbell, Common, Ava DuVernay, John Legend, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Jaden Smith. Apple Music also commissioned original artwork from collage artist Rob Lewis to visually weave together the music programming with the culture it represents.
Customers can enjoy curated Apple Maps Guides created in collaboration with EatOkra, a Black-owned business directory app based in Brooklyn, New York. EatOkra works with local chefs to provide a food-themed directory of Black-owned restaurants in local communities.
Apple TV App
This month’s theme for “Essential Stories” on the Apple TV app will spotlight the multidimensionality of the Black family and its representation onscreen. Viewers can dive into the “Essential: Stories That Honor Black Families” collection with curated sets of films and TV shows that explore motherhood, fatherhood, iconic TV families, queer chosen families, and more. This latest installment features original art by Jon Key, whose intimate illustrations depict various interpretations of family units. Viewers can also check out prior themes of “Essential Stories” with work from artists Darien Birks, Richard Chance, Dani Pendergast, and Loveis Wise, with more to come each month.
“The Oprah Conversation” episodes “Caste: Part 1” and “Caste: Part 2” from Apple TV+, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson and her book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” will be available for free on the Apple TV app. In these episodes, Oprah Winfrey, Wilkerson, and a panel of readers discuss the concept that America is built on a caste system, and readers share stories of how the themes of the critically acclaimed bestseller resonate with their lives and experiences. The “Oprah’s Book Club” interview with Winfrey and Wilkerson remains free to stream on Apple TV+, and customers can also check out the free “Caste” discussion guide on Apple Books and the Oprah’s Book Club podcast on “Caste.”
Apple News readers can explore curated topic groups that will highlight the best journalism around race in America. Separately, a special Apple News+ Spotlight collection will feature audio articles that celebrate the Black experience. Readers can dive even deeper by visiting the Racial Justice Spotlight, an ongoing collection of articles that includes education on anti-racism, mental-health resources, and ideas to serve their community.
A broad new collection on Apple Books will highlight great books and audiobooks by Black authors across a variety of genres, including literary fiction, history, memoirs, and books for young readers. Apple Books will also put a spotlight on both authors and narrators, with a special feature in which new authors, such as Jordan Ifueko, Robert Jones Jr., and Brandon Taylor, discuss their recent releases, and another feature in which celebrated audiobook narrators, including Adjoa Andoh, Guy Lockard, and Bahni Turpin, dive into some of their favorite narrating experiences.
On Apple Podcasts, listeners can enjoy an expansive set of shows from powerful Black voices including Michelle Obama, Joe Budden, Phoebe Robinson, and Baratunde Thurston; a collection of shows from creators around the world offering thoughtful interpretations of Black families; and an extended promotion of “Seizing Freedom” from Virginia Public Media, a show that documents the struggle to define freedom after 400 years of slavery. Hosted by author and historian Kidada E. Williams, with firsthand accounts from diaries, newspapers, speeches, and letters, “Seizing Freedom” illustrates the stakes for the nation during the Reconstruction era as it reveals unsettling echoes in the present-day pursuit for political and social justice.
Apple is introducing the Black Unity Collection, designed to celebrate and acknowledge Black history and Black culture. The collection includes a limited-edition Apple Watch Series 6, the Black Unity Sport Band, and a Unity watch face. As part of this effort, Apple is supporting six global organizations to help advance their missions in promoting and achieving equality and civil rights in the US and around the world: Black Lives Matter Support Fund via the Tides Foundation; European Network Against Racism; International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights; Leadership Conference Education Fund; NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.; and Souls Grown Deep.
Members of the Black creative community and allies throughout Apple came together to design an Apple Watch Sport Band and Apple Watch face to honor the ongoing fight for racial justice. Inspired by the call to action of both the historic and current movements, the Black Unity Sport Band has “Truth. Power. Solidarity.” laser-engraved onto the interior of the stainless steel fastening pin.
The Black Unity Collection pays homage to the rich tradition and craft of quilting in the Black community and celebrates the colors of the Pan-African flag: red for the blood that unites people of the African Diaspora and was shed for their liberation, black for the people whose existence is affirmed by the flag, and green for the vibrant natural wealth of Africa, the Motherland. The Black Unity Sport Band is made from individual pieces of colored fluoroelastomer, which are assembled by hand and compression-molded into one. The Unity watch face creates an ever-changing pattern that dynamically shifts as Apple Watch moves.
Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity and the Black Unity Sport Band will be available starting February 1, and the Unity watch face will be available as part of watchOS 7.3 coming later today.
In addition, Apple Watch users can participate in a new Unity Activity Challenge and earn the limited-edition award by closing their Move ring seven days in a row during February.
Apple Fitness+ subscribers can enjoy a collection of themed workouts, featuring all Black artists across Cycling, Dance, High Intensity Interval Training, Strength, Yoga, and Treadmill. Fitness+ Trainers will also feature individual songs and pay tribute to Black History Month across additional workouts. In acknowledgment and celebration of Black History Month, the first Time to Walk episode in February will feature author Ibram X. Kendi reflecting on racial justice and resiliency.
Today at Apple
Today at Apple, in partnership with design group It’s Nice That, is hosting New World, a program of hands-on virtual sessions and step-by-step tutorials focused on exploring the power of creativity to bring about change. During Black History Month, curator and writer Kimberly Drew will moderate sessions led by Black creatives who will discuss their creative practices and where they get inspiration, as well as demonstrate and teach one particular skill or technique. Sessions include typographer Tré Seals; creative director, filmmaker, and photographer Joshua Kissi; and visual artist, photographer, and educator Shan Wallace. Everyone is welcome to join and can sign up at apple.co/new-world.
Shot on iPhone
Beginning in February, Apple’s latest Shot on iPhone campaign, “Hometown,” highlights the work of more than 30 Black photographers commissioned by Apple. Their mission was to capture amazing imagery of their “Hometown” from their own unique lens. This project covered a broad range of American cities and towns like Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, and many more.
These Black History Month activities complement the company’s ongoing commitment to honoring and celebrating Black voices. Earlier this month, Apple announced a set of major new projects as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI).
Pricing and Availability
- Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity (GPS) starts at $399 (US) and Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity (GPS + Cellular) starts at $499 (US). The Black Unity Sport Band is $49 (US).
- The Black Unity Collection will be available online and in store from Apple and Target, beginning Monday, February 1, in the US and over 38 countries and regions.
- The limited-edition Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity will be available for the month of February, and the Black Unity Sport Band will be available throughout the year.
- The Unity watch face will be available later today as part of watchOS 7.3, and requires iPhone 6s or later running iOS 14.4.
- The Black History Month collections and content across Apple services will be available starting February 1.