Apple Watch accessory port change kills third-party battery Apple Watch bands

“It’s been a while since Reserve Strap last updated its customers on the status of the device’s shipping estimates, but a recent change to the Apple Watch’s accessory port functionality in watchOS 2.0.1 has essentially left the band defunct and unable to ship to those who pre-ordered last summer,” Mitchel Broussard reports for MacRumors.

“In each of the band’s design mock-ups, the device would have connected to the accessory port on the bottom side of the Apple Watch casing to provide up to an estimated 30 hours of extra battery life,” Broussard reports. “But, as developer Lane Musgrave mentioned in a recent blog post, a lesser-known update in watchOS 2.0.1 has blocked off third-party band manufacturers from taking advantage of the accessory port to fuel the abilities of ‘smartbands.'”

“The company is hoping that an MFi program will launch soon, and looks to a recent patent filing by Apple as a potential indicator of such a move,” Broussard reports. “The patent describes a series of strap designs that have embedded electronic devices — including batteries, displays, and GPS sensors — that all connect to the Apple Watch’s diagnostics port, hinting that the company could be opening the floodgates to third-party smartband developers in the future.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As predicted.

Risky if it’s not officially supported by Apple, which it doesn’t seem to be, for third-party use.MacDailyNews, May 4, 2015

Again, we’d be really careful with using undocumented, unsupported ports as Apple could change how that port works at any time. Plus, we’ve pounded on our Apple Watches all day long and have never needed to recharge before putting it to bed at night. Battery life is simply not an issue.MacDailyNews, May 28, 2015

And, hopefully, presages Apple Smartbands for Apple Watch.

Developers: Leave Apple Watch’s diagnostic port alone! – May 11, 2015
Apple Watch’s hidden port a goldmine for developers, accessory makers – May 4, 2015
Third-party Apple Watch battery straps likely not to work – April 27, 2015


        1. Sure do – 38mm, Sports, Space Grey, Link band.

          Impressive hardware. Less impressive software – or rather, there’s just no ‘killer app’ or ‘killer use’ that I have found so far.

          – Sure, if you’re into extensive health monitoring, it’s a nice kit, and at the lower price (or the $250 you could buy it from Target et al) slightly more affordable, for what it does – but not absolutely necessary.

          – for pretty much anything else, while some developers are doing a great job adapting their apps (and some are really nice), I really don’t see huge advantage to the advantage (certainly not $300 worth) than looking at my iPhone.

          – particularly when half my iMessage notifications are “SuchAndSuch sent you a message with a photo. Use your iPhone to look at it”.

          – or when more than half the time, Siri dictation majorly fails, and I spend more time trying to make it work, than just using my iPhone.

          – Most of all, apple watch is *not* an indispensable item, like my iPhone or my iPad are. In that respect, I find it disappointing. In fact, very disappointing.

        2. Someone here recently recommended reducing motion and transparency as a way to speed up the Apple Watch. I tried it and it works really really well. I highly recommend it.

          I agree about Siri dictation failing too often. I think it has something to do with communication with the iPhone. I’ve noticed it gets much worse if I am about 30ft away from my iPhone. I think the handoff from bluetooth to wifi is not very smooth.

          Overall I like my Apple Watch mostly for Messages and the ability to control whatever I’m listening to. I don’t really care about a killer feature. I just want it to work more quickly and reliably.

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