Cheaper, recharging Apple Watch bands arriving thanks to official support

Regardless of how you feel about the utility of the Apple Watch, the one thing most people can agree on, including Ars, is that it’s expensive. That’s especially true of the Apple Watch’s replacement wristbands, which start at £39 ($ 49) for a rubber sport band, rise to £129 ($ 149) for a leather strap, and peak at an eye-watering £379 ($ 449) for a metal link bracelet. Thankfully, Apple is letting third-party developers fill in the price gaps with the launch of its Made for Apple Watch program.

Like Apple’s previous “Made for” programs—which include Made for iPhone, iPad, and iPod—Made for Apple Watch lets third parties in on the Apple cash-cow by providing them with various schematics, design guidelines, and parts in order to create accessories that meet with the company’s performance standards. In the case of the Apple Watch, they will soon have access to the “lugs” that Apple uses to connect straps to the watch, as well as the specifications for making their own.

As for the straps themselves, Apple recommends that bands have a length sizing adjustment pitch of less than 7 mm (centre-to-centre) in order to maintain a snug fit for use with the watch’s heart rate sensor, while also passing a 72-hour salt mist test with no visible corrosion. Other recommendations include straps being able to resist a 20 kgf or greater pull force, and resist a resist a 5-20 kgf lateral slide-out force when installed in the watch.


In a blow to those wanting more battery life out of their watch, Apple isn’t allowing straps to integrate a magnetic charger. It’s possible, however, that the Apple Watch’s diagnostic port may be used for such a purpose, with the recently unveiled $ 249 Reserve Strap hoping to use this method of charging. Other hopeful companies include Monowear, which recently crowdfunded a range of straps, including a $ 99 stainless steel band; Click, an adaptor that will allow you to use standard 22mm straps with the Apple Watch; and Lunatik, which plans to launch a rugged case and strap on Kickstarter soon.

Notably, all those things were announced before Apple unveiled its Made for Apple Watch program, so expect the market to be flooded with with third-party accessories before too long. Many a tech-journo’s inbox might be dreading the inevitable glut of Apple Watch accessory press releases, but considering how much Apple is charging for its bands and accessories, having a few extra options out there is no bad thing.

This post originated on Ars Technica UK

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