Smartwatches

The Reserve Strap uses the hidden Apple Watch port to boost battery life

By clipping into the port the back of the watch is left unobstructed (Photo: Reserve Strap)
By clipping into the port the back of the watch is left unobstructed (Photo: Reserve Strap)
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The Reserve Strap promises a 125 percent battery boost (Photo: Reserve Strap)
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The Reserve Strap promises a 125 percent battery boost (Photo: Reserve Strap)
The strap makes use of the 6-pin diagnostic port on the Apple Watch (Photo: Reserve Strap)
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The strap makes use of the 6-pin diagnostic port on the Apple Watch (Photo: Reserve Strap)
Apple has set out specific guidelines on how straps should work (Image: Apple)
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Apple has set out specific guidelines on how straps should work (Image: Apple)
An earlier design was much bulkier and charged wirelessly (Photo: Reserve Strap)
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An earlier design was much bulkier and charged wirelessly (Photo: Reserve Strap)
This sketch shows how the strap connects to the watch (Image: Reserve Strap)
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This sketch shows how the strap connects to the watch (Image: Reserve Strap)
By clipping into the port the back of the watch is left unobstructed (Photo: Reserve Strap)
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By clipping into the port the back of the watch is left unobstructed (Photo: Reserve Strap)

A team of enterprising engineers have begun work on a Reserve Strap accessory for the Apple Watch, which they say can boost the wearable's battery life by 125 percent. Apple has also released official guidelines for third-party straps, opening the doors to companies who want to develop new looks and functionality for the timepiece.

The Reserve Strap team (part of Mutual Mobile) is only at the prototype design stage right now, but the design has already become more efficient and streamlined since the Apple Watch was launched. The latest design uses a direct connection to the device's hidden diagnostic port rather than a wireless inductive charging method, which should guarantee faster charging times and higher charging capacity.

The first rendering of the Reserve Strap wrapped around the back of the Apple Watch, leaving holes for the sensors and LEDs, but the new incarnation simply clips in and leaves the back of the device unobstructed. Mutual Mobile founder John Arrow says the 125 percent estimate is based on initial testing on both the 38 mm and 42 mm Apple Watch models.

At this stage it's not clear if Apple will allow third-party strap makers to access the 6-pin diagnostic port on the Apple Watch. There's no mention of it in the company's new band design guidelines but it's difficult to see how Apple could stop determined users from accessing it – the Reserve Strap team is planning to provide a special tool to enable users to flip it open.

Based on the documents supplied by Apple it seems the Cupertino company wants accessory makers to focus on the style and fashion of their straps rather than battery charging or additional functionality (like extra sensors). We'll have to wait and see how much control it can exercise over what third-party manufacturers do with their straps. Environmental requirements are also set out in the guidelines.

Pebble, meanwhile, is actively encouraging third-party developers to build all kinds of weird and wonderful smartstraps for its watches. As for Reserve Strap, the team is already taking preorders for $249 through its website, even at this early prototype stage. As yet there's no estimated shipping date or production schedule.

Source: Reserve Strap

1 comment
JSWilson
re: "We'll have to wait and see how much control it can exercise over what third-party manufacturers do with their straps." Apple has complete control over any and all apps and accessories that interface with their products. Third-party manufacturers will need Apple's approval to get their products to interact.
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