Apple Acknowledges Third-Party Watch Bands; Provides Guidelines

Unsatisfied with the stock bands Apple has made for it’s Watch? Give it a little time, and third-party bands are likely to flood the market.

The company today unveiled its “Made for Apple Watch” guidelines — detailed technical specs for third-party Apple Watch bands, including advisories for not blocking the Watch’s sensor (which would interfere with heartbeat monitoring and Apple Pay, as tattooed wearers have already experienced) and information on how to obtain the Apple Watch’s “lugs”, which secure the band to the device itself.

Image via Apple

Unlike with some of Apple’s other “Made for” programs (referred to as “MFi”) — which required, for example, Lightning connectors to be supplied by Apple itself — the company is not necessitating that third-party Watch bands come equipped with Apple’s official lugs. Instead, manufacturers will have the opportunity to design these lugs themselves, via a limited-use license.

There’s no early indication of who will get into the third-party Apple Watch band game; though, with the company itself charging upwards of $500 for even non-Edition bands, there is likely to be a market for less costly alternatives.

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