Apple has added a page to the developer section of their website, explaining how its new ‘Made For Apple Watch’ program will allow developers to create Apple-approved bands for the new smartwatch.
With a limited selection of official watch bands available – and a long wait for delivery of the most popular ones – it’s good to see Apple supporting the creation of quality third-party options.
The official guidelines, as you would expect from Apple, are pretty stringent. They forbid any design which inhibits the use of the heart rate sensor or Apple Pay near-field communication. This means no straps that “integrate magnetic chargers” to extend battery life. Any strap must use the official Apple-provided lugs to connect to the quick release buttons on the watch body.
The news does mean that customers can be more confident in buying an off-brand strap if it has the Apple seal of approval. You can be sure that a band developer who has passed the tests – which include durability testing, corrosion resistance and passing local environmental regulations – is providing a decent product.
That said, plenty of developers will want to make more ambitious bands – they won’t get Apple’s official approval, but we doubt that will stop the makers of the upcoming Reserve Strap, who hope to provide extra charge to the watch throughout the day.