Hidden Diagnostic Port on Apple Watch Could Allow for Smart Band Accessories [Updated]

MacRumors

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Apr 12, 2001
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Ahead of Monday's media event where Apple is expected to provide final details on the Apple Watch, a new report from TechCrunch details a hidden "diagnostic port" inside one of the channels on the Apple Watch where watch bands slip into place. While the port is currently used only for diagnostic purposes, the report argues it could be used in the future to interface with "smart band" accessories bringing additional functionality to the watch.
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.
TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino is careful to state that he has no knowledge of any plans by Apple to launch such smart band accessories, but the idea remains an intriguing one. Possibilities for such bands include additional sensors, external batteries integrated into a band, and more.

Apple revealed a number of high-level details about the Apple Watch at the device's unveiling last September, but even now with a launch set for next month there is still much that remains unknown, including pricing details beyond the $349 starting price. Apple will undoubtedly address many of the details at Monday's events, but some of the technical details will likely need to wait until the device launches and users and technical experts can get a closer look at the device.

Update 2:13 PM: The diagnostic port will not be included on the Apple Watch that ships to consumers, according to 9to5Mac.

Article Link: Hidden Diagnostic Port on Apple Watch Could Allow for Smart Band Accessories [Updated]
 

bpeeps

macrumors 68030
May 6, 2011
2,866
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Who's buying this launch day?

I'll continue to bite my tongue because I thought iPads were useless when they first launched, but now I own one.
 

Mascots

macrumors 68000
Sep 5, 2009
1,589
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FINALLY

I knew there had to be a way to create some sort of physical connection, but I couldn't figure out from the specs and images how it would be possible... that one certainly slipped my mind.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6

apolloa

macrumors G5
Oct 21, 2008
12,226
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Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
Not surprised, Pebble announced this feature too, it's the logical step, it could give you extra battery power or sensors on the straps.
Plus it gives another market to accessory makers.

EDIT: Oh well never mind, it was a nice idea until this story was updated...
 
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mwickens

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2006
52
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Toronto
Now we know how they’ll enforce rules about which bands will be allowed to work with which watch collections. j/k. I don’t think Apple would do this.
 

AleXXXa

macrumors 6502
Feb 22, 2015
332
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Who's buying this launch day?

I'll continue to bite my tongue because I thought iPads were useless when they first launched, but now I own one.
iPads are still useless. You can't do anything special on them that you can't do on a laptop or on a smartphone.
 

Watabou

macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
3,414
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United States
Who's buying this launch day?

I'll continue to bite my tongue because I thought iPads were useless when they first launched, but now I own one.
I am. Or if they're going to do preorders, I'll do that. I still haven't decided between the 38mm or 42mm though. I guess it'll be a spur of the moment thing when I order it.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
20,646
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So Apple had special watches made just for employees? What's the purpose of this 'diagnostics port' then?
 

Binarymix

macrumors 65816
Nov 1, 2007
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So Apple had special watches made just for employees? What's the purpose of this 'diagnostics port' then?
A lot of prototypes have diagnostic ports. Obviously they were gathering as much data from different users as they could.

They wouldn't want to release the Apple watch as a glitchy POS, that only worked for 'some' people 'half' of the time.

No need for the port on the production device.
 

Crzyrio

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2010
1,445
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So Apple had special watches made just for employees? What's the purpose of this 'diagnostics port' then?
To Diagnose :p

What happens if Bluetooth stops working while testing?


It seems very silly, for them to not include it apart of the final product. I assumed from the beginning that there would be some sort of interface port, how would Geniuses gather data if wireless communication stopped working?