Apple may have tested “Smart Bands” for the Apple Watch, according to a new image of a prototype device.
The image, shared by the developer and collector of prototypes Giulio Zompetti, shows two metal contacts inside the tape slot of an Apple Watch Series 3 prototype, on either side of the diagnostic port. Zompetti postulated that the “two unusual pads are exposed to the band” and may be some sort of iPad-like “smart connector”, much like those on various iPad models, used to accommodate a “smart band.”
Apple has filed a number of patents around Apple Watch smart bracelets, indicating that this is something the company has actively considered. Some patents showed how features like biometric authentication, self-tightening, and LED progress indicators could be built into a strip, while others explained a modular approach with batteries, displays, cameras. , blood pressure sensors, etc.
The Apple Watch’s hidden diagnostic port was once supposed to facilitate smart bands. At the time, the diagnostic connector, allegedly based on the design of the Lightning connector, was believed to be able to support future accessories.
Third-party accessory makers were able to develop an external battery band that could charge the Apple Watch through the diagnostic port, but changes to the Apple Watch’s software prevented the strap from ever being marketed. However, other smart bands that do not depend on the diagnostic port have become available in recent years.
In the past, Zompetti has shared images of prototype versions of the original Apple Watch, the first generation iPad, the third generation iPod touch, and the iPhone 12 Pro.