Apple Watch diagnostic port can be used for charging, accessory makers say

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited May 2015
Third parties are able to use the small diagnostic port hidden inside one of the Apple Watch's lugs to charge the device, according to one accessory maker, opening up the possibility of a "Made for Apple Watch" program down the line.


A proposed charging band design


"Our engineers have been able to independently confirm that the 6 pin diagnostic port underneath the Apple Watch case can be used for charging," the designers of battery band Reserve Strap wrote in a recent website update. This is undocumented functionality, and there is no word on whether Apple will allow continued access via the port.

If Apple does allow development of accessories such as the Reserve Band to continue, it could presage the introduction of a "Made for Apple Watch" program akin to the "Made for iPhone" program that licenses access to the Lightning connector. This is exactly the scenario envisioned when word of the diagnostic port's existence first surfaced earlier this year.

Alternatively, Apple could restrict the use of the diagnostic port via a software or firmware update. This is more in line with the company's stance on iOS-connected accessories, where Apple seeks a modicum of control over the quality of its ecosystem.

Apple has yet to publicly discuss the Apple Watch's diagnostic port or its uses.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    9secondko9secondko Posts: 929member
    As I mentioned previous. This was so obvious.

    And cool too. Now you can get your band/extended battery.

    Great idea.
  • Reply 2 of 36
    Difficult to troubleshoot a device that is wireless-only. Sometimes you need hard, direct access as a device is booting.

    Apple is trying to move into a wireless world (look at the new Macbook). I would not be surprised if this port is for low-level diagnostics for bricked watches only.
  • Reply 3 of 36
    "Apple has yet to publicly discuss the Apple Watch's diagnostic port or its uses."
    I suggest that it's for diagnostic purposes - as its name suggests. What's all the fuss about?
  • Reply 4 of 36
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    I'd wait until Apple authorizes this, you don't want them removing the functionality in an update.

    Apple probably designed it to also charge so that a tech can just deal with one cable when he's diagnosing it.
  • Reply 5 of 36
    A battery band would make the watch a viable sleep tracker in addition to targeting people with daytime "range anxiety". I would buy two...
  • Reply 6 of 36
    ronstarkronstark Posts: 81member
    But there's more. When we were developing a wrist communicator and then a wrist tricorder for the Star Trek movie series, we found the need for a larger screen. Not only for films' sake but for the logic of the instrument itself. The Apple Watch is too small too. So here we go to the Mod look with a larger band and screen to match with extra buttons too as well as a power cell in the band concept in addition to battery life and solar cell.

    The added size would also allow larger motherboard and more independent ability away from the phone unit. Bigger speaker too.
  • Reply 7 of 36
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    Even without this couldn't you make a strap that charges it? Because it's designed to be charged inductively, without any sort of connection.

  • Reply 8 of 36
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,492member

    "Apple don't take a dump without having a plan, son."

  • Reply 9 of 36
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    eightzero wrote: »
    "Apple don't take a dump without having a plan, son."

    Thanks Fred. ;)
  • Reply 10 of 36
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member

    So wait...it is not a Lightning port?

  • Reply 11 of 36
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,763member
    How else is the Genius Bar going to fix an unresponsive watch?
  • Reply 12 of 36
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Anybody that buys a band like this right now is an idiot. Apple covered the port for a reason. If it's intended to be used for things other than diagnostics surely Apple would utilize it before they allowed any third parties to. And if they did open it up to third parties it certainly would be under some sort of 'made for watch' program where Apple would get some sort of licensing fee.
  • Reply 13 of 36
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ascii View Post

     

    Even without this couldn't you make a strap that charges it? Because it's designed to be charged inductively, without any sort of connection.




    Yes, that was Reserve Strap's original plan, but using the diagnostic port is much more efficient on top of not blocking the wrist/HR sensor.

  • Reply 14 of 36
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,387member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by macfanatic View Post



    A battery band would make the watch a viable sleep tracker in addition to targeting people with daytime "range anxiety". I would buy two...

    My AppleWatch has been consistently showing 25%-30% at the end of a typical 17- to 18-hour day.

     

    I've noticed that it has actually got better in the past ten days! Weird.

  • Reply 15 of 36
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,902member
    Most people don't remember, or weren't around when the first iMacs came out, that there was a connector inside that Apple used for diagnostics there as well.

    Manufacturers found that they could make boards for it that added functionality. Apple removed it with the second iteration of the machines. That fact that they covered this connector is likely telling everyone that it's not intended for third party use.

    While it would most likely make it more difficult for Apple to do whatever testing they use this for, they would probably remove it if they weren't happy about it being used by others, for uses it wasn't intended for.

    So I wouldn't be too thrilled, just yet, about third parties having ideas for its use.
  • Reply 16 of 36
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,492member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    Most people don't remember, or weren't around when the first iMacs came out, that there was a connector inside that Apple used for diagnostics there as well.



    Manufacturers found that they could make boards for it that added functionality. Apple removed it with the second iteration of the machines. That fact that they covered this connector is likely telling everyone that it's not intended for third party use.



    While it would most likely make it more difficult for Apple to do whatever testing they use this for, they would probably remove it if they weren't happy about it being used by others, for uses it wasn't intended for.



    So I wouldn't be too thrilled, just yet, about third parties having ideas for its use.

    Yet. 

     

    I'm not actually sure Apple even officially acknowledges the existence of the port, much less signal their plans for it. That iMac port might have had a whole host of plans associated with it, but they were scrapped on the second iteration as Apple saw the progress of the device.

     

    This will be interesting to play out. Apple has a host of patents on the Apple Watch, not the least of which is a design patent on the attach mechanism. They have essentially three choices:

     

    1. Turn a blind eye to the infringing devices that are sure to appear;

    2. License the technology "Made for Apple Watch" as the article suggests;

    3. Quietly monitor infringers to see if there are real damages to the Apple Watch profitability and branding and act against them, either with a legal challenge or acquisition.

     

    Interestingly, I'm fairly sure that Apple can completely control that port via firmware updates. Pretty sure they can make the Watch non-responsive to any device they feel isn't "appropriate." 

  • Reply 17 of 36
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    While it would most likely make it more difficult for Apple to do whatever testing they use this for, they would probably remove it if they weren't happy about it being used by others, for uses it wasn't intended for.

     

    A computer is very different from a sealed watch or other appliance. Without the internal iMac port, you can still load the OS. How is Apple going to repair a botched software upgrade, for example? Even the Apple TV has the USB external data port.

  • Reply 18 of 36
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    macfanatic wrote: »
    A battery band would make the watch a viable sleep tracker in addition to targeting people with daytime "range anxiety". I would buy two...

    sleep tracking would be interesting, but the strap would have to provide an additional entire day of use so that you could charge it every second night. if it only gets you thru the night then youre forced to take it off to charge for an hour or two the next day, losing activity tracking -- which you can already do today by taking it off and charging before bed.
  • Reply 19 of 36
    nick29nick29 Posts: 111member
    Apple will wait until this product comes out and then update the firmware to screw the company.
  • Reply 20 of 36
    toysandmetoysandme Posts: 221member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    My AppleWatch has been consistently showing 25%-30% at the end of a typical 17- to 18-hour day.

     

    I've noticed that it has actually got better in the past ten days! Weird.


    What size watch do you have?

Sign In or Register to comment.