Is it just me, or is the Made For Apple Watch program a dud?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by TheIntruder, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. TheIntruder macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008
    I only picked up an AW recently, so I've been going thru all the new toys for my new toy...stands, straps, adapters, etc.

    Unlike the MFi program, which is very prevalent (because it has to be, at least in terms of Lightning), I've found very few instances of MFAW product.

    Belkin seems to the only one offering stands with built-in charging discs and the MFAW mark.

    The MFAW lug adapters were made available, but only through one source, in wholesale quantities, and with restrictions on their usage and sale. I have yet to knowingly come across a strap vendor who uses them, instead of whatever knockoffs they can procure.

    The result of this is that some of the nicer (and expensive) docks still require the user to provide their down charging disc.

    While some of the complete plug-n-play straps are nice, the pricing is more in line with known quality straps from well-established strap makers that are decades, if not hundreds of years old, for what is probably obtained for relatively small cost from some Asian ODM.

    Sourcing lug adapters separately is a lottery in terms of the look and quality of the product, and there are no assurances that a well-regarded source will remain consistent, or continually available.

    Overall, the net result is that MFAW has little to no uptake, while knockoffs of varying quality rule the market.

    Whatever level of quality MFAW is supposed to represent is really a mystery, because there is so little product that meets its guidelines available.
  2. matrix07 macrumors 601


    Jun 24, 2010
  3. tromboneaholic Suspended


    Jun 9, 2004
    Clearwater, FL
    It must be a dud because I never heard of it until now.
  4. oftheheavens macrumors 68000

    Jul 9, 2008
    cherry point
    I know I heard about this program as well and then completely forgot about it until I saw the thread a few days ago on here with that belkin stand you're referring to. Anyway, this reminded me of Click adaptors and the fiasco that was so here is a funny story. I backed them on kickstarter like many others on there just before the OG AW was released. The adaptors took like 6 months PAST release, not past the announcement date...past the release date, and to top it off, they installed the little black buttons that keep the adaptor in place and let it click into the watch. There was about 100 notes from the makers sent via email all providing false promises. Then they acknowledged they messed them up and promised to fix it, this was around 8 months after the OG AW came out. Well, fast forward until a week before the mailman is bringing my new black SS AW2 with link bracelet and what do I get in the mail!?! My space gray aluminum click adaptors............... Oh I forgot to mention the first shipment came with a silver link band and all space gray adaptors (idiots) and numerous emails didn't succeed in me getting the correct one in the mail almost 2 years later. They still didn't fit perfectly and the color was still slightly off, they definitely should have invested in the MFAW program just so they could get the measurements right the first...or second time.
  5. TheIntruder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008
    Yes, there is a Made for Apple Watch program. Either Apple has done a really crappy job promoting it, or made the terms such a "bag of hurt," to steal a famous quote, that few want to participate in it.

    Belkin participates, and that's what presumably allows them to incorporate a charging disc into their stands.

    I finally found an accessory maker, Ullu, who uses the genuine Apple lugs.

    What's frustrating to me, as a horology fan, is that I'm already accustomed to buying and changing straps for my watches. There are a plethora of quality straps available, in every conceivable form, without having to pay an inflated price from some iOS accessory maker that just jumped into watch accessories because Apple made a watch.

    The problem is, it's hard to take advantage of that for my AW when the majority of lug adapters appear to be cheap Chinese junk that aren't commensurate with the quality of the straps or the AW. Not to mention the risk of damage to the watch if they fall apart.

    But I'll bite the bullet at some point. I actually thought I had found what might be some decent ones, but I took a closer look at the photos, and the freaking metal doesn't even have a clean straight edge, and they are the simple type that uses spring bars. That is, if the photos even accurately represent what you'll receive, instead of a different version as can be the case.

    The market is flooded with cheap junk from internet storefronts that just order from them whatever fleeting ODM source they can find at a particular moment. "New and improved" versions aren't coming about because these resellers develop the product, it's because one of the ODM gang has come up with a different design, and everyone else has copied it.

    Plus, if, for whatever reason, things change, a product just disappears, with no explanation, like some of the imitation bands. I'm surprised they're not marketed as "Limited Editions."
  6. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    The official “Made for Apple Watch” lugs cost almost as much as the majority of the cheap Chinese junk straps so that's going to put a lot of manufacturers off from using them. I don't think you are going to see them used on many straps that sell for less than $75.
  7. TheIntruder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008
    Yes, unfortunately, there's not much middle ground between the cheap/imitation stuff and the nice stuff.

    Most will be happy with the former, and the latter, for those who want better quality, is largely satisfied by the genuine Apple straps, which works out well for the company.
  8. Buran macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2007
    I have a Milanese Loop (came with the watch) for dressy occasions, which are rare for me. But I'd like to have one nice backup leather strap of some sort. And so far because of the either/or problem, I'm thinking of getting the Hermes watch next time around, or maybe a Modern Buckle. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot else out there that doesn't look like cheap junk.

    Tried a thirdparty sport band once in a color that Apple didn't offer (medium to dark gray) and the material was slick junk that irritated my skin after a while. You would think bandmakers would realize that there's a reason fluoroelastomer is used for the first-party bands instead of cheap silicone.

    No thanks. Haven't bought a single third-party band after that fiasco. It's a good thing I got the halfway-decent 38mm leather loop third-party band (because Apple still inexplicably refuses to make them) first. But I had some of the dye rub off of it at one point so I'd love to get an Apple band and ditch this one -- who knows what else is going to happen? Thankfully, there isn't any noticeable damage... so far.
  9. BarracksSi Suspended


    Jul 14, 2015
    My guess is that strap manufacturers thought making adapters would be easy. They figured, why pay Apple for these things when they can make the adapters themselves and pocket a few extra bucks per strap?

    It should be easy, though, right? All the specs and dimensions are published, and the watch has been out for a year and a half. Test-fitting for latch security, width, and color match should not be a problem.

    What's blowing my mind is that these other manufacturers are proving incapable of shaping and assembling a simple mechanism.

    I can't blame these manufacturers for everything, though. Plenty of users have spent enough on substandard junk that I'm sure profits are still being made. And as long as profit comes in, why stop?
  10. TheIntruder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008
    The expertise to make good quality adapters does exist in China.

    I have little doubt that, like the rest of Apple's products, their lugs are made there. Traditional watchmakers are also sourcing their cases from China, at least on the lower end, and the quality and finish can be very good.

    Apple's lugs are <$12 set in quantities as small as 25.

    What's frustrating is that you'll find the low quality lugs that sell for as little as $3/pair on Alibaba or a Chinese B2B site being resold for $10-15 from Amazon storefronts, or even worse, $15-20 from an accessory vendor, and being used on straps that are $40-50 or higher.

    For the aftermarket, it's probably a lack of will, and cost. As you said, they already make good profits with little effort.

    I'm not expecting the level of finish you'd find on a luxury timepiece, but I do want something better than what's being offered, and not going to fall apart after a couple months.
  11. ZEEN0j macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2014
    That's why I buy third party bands with custom lugs, hyperlink and just ordered a nomad leather band. All other lugs are thin and the space between the lug and watch is bigger compared to apples.
  12. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2010
    That's why I haven't bought third party bands and I've had my AW for over a year. I refuse to buy bands without official lugs. That's the most important part of the band as it can damage your watch.

    Anyone know of any 3rd party bands that use official lugs, please post them here.
  13. TheIntruder thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008
    I capitulated and bought some aftermarket lugs, but they are the spring bar style. The quality is just acceptable, but the exposed areas look fine, and the fit tolerances are fine.

    I won't trust aftermarket tubular lugs. Don't want to deal with three potential weak points, special screwdrivers or threadlocker. I also prefer the look of traditional lugs.

    There are a couple strap makers who do use the OE lugs; I've mentioned them in older posts, but don't remember them offhand right now. They were on the higher end of the market.
  14. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2010
    I bought two bands from Ullu shop. Thanks for mentioning them. I spent a while searching for other vendors, but I found none that advertise Made For Apple Watch lugs. It's a real shame that vendors simply don't care about quality. Kind of reminds me of how all laptops used to have TN panels until Apple ditched them.

    I'll report back here and compare it to my Apple milanese loop to verify that it is indeed authentic lugs. FYI, if anyone decides to order, the company is based in Dubai and shipping to the US is ~$16 and will probably take 2 weeks.
  15. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2010
    I'd like to confirm that the two bands I got from Ullu do indeed use authentic lugs. The fit is perfect.
  16. kgenova macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2013
    Hey, what color Ullu bands did you get, by the way? I'm trying to choose a color, and it's hard! And did you go with the premium leather, or one of the fancier options?
  17. MrX8503 macrumors 68020

    Sep 19, 2010
    I'll take up close photos for you later. I got blue and brown leather, I forget the names, but I'll look it up later.

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16 October 7, 2016