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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Last week, we heard reports that a hidden "diagnostic port" was present on early Apple Watches currently in testing. The TechCrunch report indicated the port was being used for diagnostic purposes.
The port has a 6-dot brass contact array inside the groove for the 'bottom' strap connector slot. Several sources have confirmed its existence and placement to me. It is very similar to the connector for the Lightning connector in iPhones, as that connector currently only uses 6 of its 8 available pins. Apple recently began opening up the Lightning port for use by third parties. A source says that this port is currently for diagnostic purposes only -- but that there is nothing preventing it from being a connection port for future accessories.
The port was spotted by our forum members in a number of the new Apple Watch promo videos that Apple released today.

URH3egN-800x454.jpg
Matthew Panzarino, the original author of the report, confirmed today that the port still exists, but he remains uncertain if it will ship in the final version:
Confirmed the diagnostic port is still in the ?????? band channel. Don t know if it will ship that way or not. - Matthew Panzarino (@panzer) March 9, 2015
The Apple Watch will begin shipping in April with pre-orders starting on April 10th.

Article Link: Apple Watch Diagnostic Port Spotted in Apple Promo Videos
 

Jimmyz

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2007
139
0
A port would just add one more thing for apple to make water resistant, and I'm not sure if it would be of any use to buyers. So I highly doubt it will make it into the final version.
 

flash84x

macrumors regular
Aug 5, 2011
189
132
I'd guess that they use it for video out during the presentations too?

Makes me wonder as a developer how I can present from a device for demos. Probably need to use the simulator...
 

dmx

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2008
728
1,497
I hope it isn't there/used to verify that bands are Apple Certified.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,822
553
Thank you for finally mentioning the linked thread and connector :) Oh, and using my pic! :D
 

D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
11,050
12,460
Vilano Beach, FL
I'd guess that they use it for video out during the presentations too?

Makes me wonder as a developer how I can present from a device for demos. Probably need to use the simulator...

I wonder if it will eventually support AirPlay[?] then something like Reflector would make an outstanding demo solution. :cool:
 

MartyF81

macrumors 6502
Sep 5, 2010
332
240
Chicago IL
Looks to me more like a place for the audio sounds to come out, like the ports on the bottom of the iPhone.

Also.... if you think Apple is going to have a Marketing video with the ports on it and they AREN'T gonna be on the production model? you are mistaken. Apple would never do that.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,822
553
Looks to me more like a place for the audio sounds to come out, like the ports on the bottom of the iPhone.

Also.... if you think Apple is going to have a Marketing video with the ports on it and they AREN'T gonna be on the production model? you are mistaken. Apple would never do that.

Does little good to put 6 holes for sound if said holes will be completely covered up by the band's connector.
 

Squid7085

macrumors 6502a
Aug 14, 2002
558
48
Charlotte, NC
I would be very surprised if there was not some type of "port" on the watch for diagnostic or other use. It's just a fact of devices like this, there has to be a way to have a "wired" connection. Something like this would not be hard to waterproof either.
 

MartyF81

macrumors 6502
Sep 5, 2010
332
240
Chicago IL
Apple doesn't obstruct their own cutouts

No? How about the iPhone 4 and 4S "bumpers" ?

Outside of that.... the point was that you can still hear audio even through an Otterbox covering the entire audio holes.

Where else is the sound coming out of... if not out of those port holes?
 

8CoreWhore

macrumors 68030
Jan 17, 2008
2,653
1,186
Tejas
Maybe Lightning was a placeholder port, now replaced with this proprietary, and water resistant, connector. Apple needs a way to connect to device for diagnosis while supplying power, and it needs to be sealed from water.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,822
553
No? How about the iPhone 4 and 4S "bumpers" ?

Outside of that.... the point was that you can still hear audio even through an Otterbox covering the entire audio holes.

Where else is the sound coming out of... if not out of those port holes?

Apple didn't obstruct the iPhone 4 sound and mic locations at all with their bumpers:

main.jpg


Maybe you should've read the linked thread in the article: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1853605/

to find this pic of the mic and speaker location:

IXXtW39.png
 

Robert.Walter

macrumors 68040
Jul 10, 2012
3,081
4,325
The cases in the promo vids could have very well been those made for or during the prototype phase. Advertising lead time may have dictated this.

On the other hand, if the ports remain, they will allow Apple to develop a set of sensor wristbands, or suppliers to participate in a MFAW sensor accessories. Not every person wants, needs, or can afford a full set of sensors, so like the peripheral adapters for the new Macbook a person can buy their sensor a la carte. (This may become useful if health insurance companies decide to subsidize these watches to help reduce costs via better health management tools.)

Further, there would also be a possibility to mount a watch in a holder, and these contacts would allow the device to have a persistent connection to both signal and power.

Finally, just because the contacts may not be present in the 1st gen Watch does not mean that they could be reintroduced at a later point in time.
 

dmx

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2008
728
1,497
I'd bet money if it's there in the end-user product then that will be its primary function. Hadn't thought of it until you mentioned it though. Good call.


Exactly. With some bands running over $400, Apple wont want a Chinese knockoff that runs $30 to "tarnish" their "luxury" image and take that revenue away. I imagine the watch won't function with an unauthorized band.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,822
553
Exactly. With some bands running over $400, Apple wont want a Chinese knockoff that runs $30 to "tarnish" their "luxury" image and take that revenue away. I imagine the watch won't function with an unauthorized band.

So each band is going to have a chip in it?
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,822
553
Considering every Lightning Cable has an authentication chip built in, it's really not a stretch to imagine every band will as well.

Oh I know, but for some reason I'm having a hard time imagining a chip in the rubber straps.
 

dmx

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2008
728
1,497
Oh I know, but for some reason I'm having a hard time imagining a chip in the rubber straps.

Hah! Well, this is nothing more than a guess, so I hope I'm wrong. Wonder if there are any pics from the hands on where the port is visible that would disprove the idea.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,822
553
Hah! Well, this is nothing more than a guess, so I hope I'm wrong. Wonder if there are any pics from the hands on where the port is visible that would disprove the idea.

Unfortunately the media didn't take the bands off to my knowledge.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,822
553
I'm curious how easily they come off though? You wouldn't want it so easy that it could just fall off.

They won't fall off, you have to push in on the little oval shaped button and then slide the band out. Easy to come off intentionally but not unintentionally :)
 
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