Could Watch bands be proprietary?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Rogifan, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. Rogifan macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    Interesting article from I'm still not convinced Watch bands will be proprietary but I have a feeling Apple will tightly control it as much as they can with some sort of "made for Watch" program. I'm also not convinced it will be that easy to make cheap bands that will integrate seamlessly and look nice. I think it will be easy to tell when someone is wearing a non-Apple approved watch band.
  2. Julien macrumors G4


    Jun 30, 2007
    It is a proprietary system and not an open standard. Apple developed, patented and owns the system. The question is does or will Apple MFi license it ('made for Watch').

    As for 3ed party unlicensed, there will just be too many Chinese knockoffs from obscure and unknown sources for Apple to pursue in court. So there will be plenty of 3ed party bands.

    Now if some compony tried to use the system on their own watch Apple would definitely take action.
  3. Rogifan thread starter macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    But I don't think there will be many nice unauthorized 3rd party bands. Cheap, yea. Nice, no.
  4. Wallabe macrumors 6502a

    Mar 15, 2015
    Apple is going to Apple. That's how they are with all their proprietary stuff, including computer ports. Apple throws out lawsuits to cut down competitors.

    I'm highly suspect of the USB-C. Apple may have a role in inventing it. When other 3rd party accessories maker create products with those ports Apple will just sue to keep it off the market. Why is there no magsafe backup battery for example?
  5. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    I haven't done a patent search but I'd be surprised if there wasn't both a design and utility patent for the way the band attaches to the watch.
  6. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    Smartcovers are proprietary, yet they allow third party smartcovers for the iPad.
  7. Piggie macrumors 604


    Feb 23, 2010
    Hang on.

    I thought most here were saying how they don't care what other people think?

    So, if the person who owns the watch and their 3rd party strap likes it, is happy with it.
    Why does anyone here want to comment that they will not look nice and will be able to tell they are not official ones.

    Who cares, unless you are some snob that wishes to look down upon someone else.

    Mind you I know we have those people here unfortunately.
    The general Walmart remarks are enough to remind you of that.


    Please note:

    Apple have planed and WANT people to make 3rd party bands, 3rd parties gold plating the watch is also a plan of Apple's also.

    You would have to be foolish to think otherwise.
  8. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Of course they're proprietary? That was patently clear from the very first video they showed.

    Anyway, whether or not they have an official licensing programme is another matter entirely. I'd very much like to see a 'Made for Apple Watch' programme as it gives us, the customers, more choice. If a band is horrible, nobody is forcing you to buy it.
  9. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    Why would Apple want to lose out on revenue from selling their own bands or diminish the exclusivity of their Edition models?

    This is some foolish thinking.
  10. FrankySavvy macrumors 65816

    Mar 4, 2010
    Long Island, NY
  11. Piggie macrumors 604


    Feb 23, 2010
    Because I don't think Apple employ stupid people generally, do you?

    Let's say I'm not as clever as a top designer/decision maker at Apple.
    Ok so far with that I presume :D

    If you put me at the table when I was helping to advise/talk about creating bands for the Apple watch.
    We talk about the type of bands we could offer and we start to talk about price, and what type of models/styles we will make and what price points we will set in place here. Especially let's say for the sports model.

    Even I (with my less than Apple top manager ability) would point out VERY strongly, if we do this. If we price those bands at those prices, and offer no metal etc bands for the sports watch we are actively going to encourage others to fill the void we are leaving by not offering our customers anything to buy from ourselves.

    You would have to be the most gormless idiot on the planet to make metal bands, in the, let's say $200 to $400 range, and fail to grasp that by doing so, you are deliberately encouraging, others to make bands.
    Even more so when you are not going to make any for the sport as I say.

    Naïve or Dumb. Is Apple one of those?

    If we assume Apple top staff are not stupid. They knew there would be a strong demand set into place for items they were deliberately choosing not to offer customers.

    So, as they are not dumb, it's a deliberate decision on their part to encourage 3rd party bands, cheaper than theirs, and for the sports watch they are not catering for.

    Deliberately not doing something is just the same as deliberately doing something. You sit down, and consider the consequences and outcome of your choice.

    As I also say, this goes for the gold model.
    Apple, (again we are assuming they are not dumb) know many millions of normal people love the gold look on a watch.

    Apple had deliberately chosen to offer those "normal people" nothing, other than Aluminium or shiny steel.

    That is a deliberate decision. Do you think they did not know that taking this decision, and offering these "normal people" nothing gold coloured, they are going to encourage 3rd parties to attempt to offer gold plating services.
  12. Runt888 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2008
    USB-C is an open standard.
  13. MeFromHere macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2012
    IS there a patent? I haven't seen any specific info either way.

    I have heard of other companies with patented mechanisms for attaching watch bands to watches.
  14. melman101 macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
  15. mojolicious macrumors 68000


    Mar 18, 2014
    Sarf London
    Yep. Apple don't want to get involved in the $50 leather strap / $100 metal band business, because there's no money in it for them. Their pricing has already conceded the cheaper end of the market to third parties.

    If the locking mechanism *was* proprietary, or was at least considered proprietary, then Apple would have had the good manners to inform all those Kickstarter projects by now.
  16. Piggie macrumors 604


    Feb 23, 2010
    To be honest, I'd not really agree there is no money in it for them.
    I feel they would actually be scared it would show up the pricing of their higher end straps.

    Think about it. Apple could easy, VERY easy get metal straps made for $50 and they'd be pretty nice. Cost about $10 to make them, Apple make a nice profit 5x mark-up, and perhaps sports watch owners would love to have them as alternatives to the rubber strap.

    $349 watch, $50 metal strap, all would seem quite reasonable.

    The problem is, you can actually get a strap made cheap that's really not that bad at all.
    Even if we said it was half as good as a higher end strap it will still make the other straps then look over priced.

    I mean:
    Cheap perhaps, but hardly OMG that's so horrid and vile either.

    Apple have just let this happen and chose to offer a few themselves.
    As you rightly say, it would be easy to lock the strap down, electronically of they really wanted to.
  17. MeFromHere, Mar 20, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015

    MeFromHere macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2012
    Thanks for the patent number and the links.

    Here's a link with more details about D724,103:

    This patent is certainly for the Apple Watch. The only part of the design the patent covers is the band attachment.

    I think this patent would be enough to stop anyone from making a watch compatible with Apple's bands. It's not clear to me that it prevents someone from making a band compatible with Apple's watch. A band is probably not an "electronic device", and the patent protects the design of an electronic device.

    Edit: Patent D724469 covers the design of the Modern Buckle, and it pretty clearly includes the part of the band that attaches to the watch. So I suspect that all the 3rd party strap makers are on very thin ice, unless they have a license from Apple.


    The patent (D724103) was only published on March 10, 2015. It seems unlikely they would have notified anyone before then.

    Edit: Patent D724469 is dated March 17, 2015.
  18. Rogifan thread starter macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    I would not buy any early bands or adapters claiming they will work with Watch. I suspect the experience won't be great. I think any 3rd party bands will be on VERY thin ice without paying some sort of licensing fee to Apple. I suspect there will be some sort of MFI like program eventually. But not right away. Apple didn't design all these bands so people could buy cheap 3rd party alternatives right out of the gate. And in the New Yorker interview with Jony Ive he made it quite clear this is just the beginning so I'll bet Apple will introduce new band options maybe even later this year. They'll use the data from the online store's like feature to determine what bands/colors are most popular and adjust off that.

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