The Apple Watch has a “hidden” charging port in one of its slots for connecting to a watch band, according to accessory maker Reserve Strap.
Blocked by a metal cover, the mystery port isn’t listed in Apple’s documentation for its new smartwatch, The Verge noted on Monday. Previously, the mystery door had been described as a “diagnostic port.”
Now Reserve Strap claims to have cracked the secret, saying the metal cover hides a 6-pin port which can be used to charge the Apple Watch much faster than via the wireless, inductive charging the device is designed to do out of the box. The accessory maker has designed a watch strap packing a battery that it says will connect to the 6-pin port to charge the Apple Watch more quickly and efficiently than through inductive charging.
Reserve Strap recently said that its “discovery” of the secret port has caused it to scrap a wireless charging battery strap in favor of a “completely rethought design that takes advantage of the 6-pin port underneath the band slide of the Apple Watch.”
“This port hadn’t been deciphered by anyone until now but we’ve been able to make significant enough observations so far to warrant shifting our development focus to this new method. We’re looking forward to sharing more design details and technical specification of this new Reserve Strap as soon as we can,” the company added.
But will Apple allow just anybody to take advantage of a port it has walled off from prying eyes? Getting the metal cover off the port is apparently difficult enough to have stymied the efforts of the teardown specialists at iFixit to do it without resorting to brute force.
“Apple could disable the port or cripple it for outside parties through a future Watch OS firmware update,” The Verge opined. “Then, all possibilities for docks and accessories that plug into the port would immediately vanish. If Apple won’t be using this port for its own accessories, it’s doubtful the company will let anyone else cash in.”
Reserve Strap said it will include a tool for opening the port with its battery strap for the Apple Watch. The company is also promising that its engineers are testing a charging solution for the 6-pin port which won’t disrupt key functions of the smartwatch.
“By utilizing this port instead of wirelessly charging, we’ve been able to achieve a higher charge capacity and quicker, more efficient charging times while also improving durability and eliminating any interference with Apple Watch functionality including taptic feedback and heartrate sensors,” Reserve Strap said.
The Reserve Strap battery band will be available in white, gray, or black this fall for both the 38mm and 42mm versions of the Apple Watch, the company said. Reserve Strap is taking pre-orders for its $249 battery strap now.