Tucked away inside the Apple Watch is a secret port that accessory makers are already planning to use as a means of extending the watch’s battery life.
The Apple Watch is designed to be charged using its wireless magnetic connector, but a new Apple Watch strap accessory called the Reserve Strap aims to plug into the hidden port “to achieve a higher charge capacity and quicker, more efficient charging times.”
By swapping out the band for a Reserve Strap that includes its own integrated battery packs, Apple Watch owners could simultaneously charge their watch without having to take it off.
The Reserve Strap team originally planned to extend the Apple Watch’s battery life through a wireless charging solution of its own, but after one of their engineers were able to explore the device hands-on, the accessory company decided to design a system that could plug into the secret port instead.
“Our engineers have been able to independently confirm that the 6 pin diagnostic port underneath the Apple Watch case can be used for charging,” Reserve Strap writes on their pre-order page. “The Reserve Strap will take advantage of this using a simple, retractable connector instead of the previous inductive charging cradle design.”
When the hidden port was first discovered months ago, some thought Apple would use it to conduct internal diagnostics, but 9to5Mac points out that Apple employees use a connected iPhone for that.
And while Apple designed the port to be inaccessible, Reserve Strap includes a tool to let you access it — though that will likely void Apple’s warranty. Once the port is uncovered and accessible, the Reserve Strap slides into place like other Apple Watch straps, and then you simply extend the retractable connector to attach to the 6-pin port.
Of course, we won’t know for sure if the Reserve Strap will actually work and live up to the company’s claims until it ships and people are able to try it out. It’s also important to note that Apple traditionally cautions against purchasing unapproved third-party charging accessories, since faulty chargers have been blamed for overheating accidents in the past. Apple usually only recommends third-party chargers that have been officially approved for use with its devices.
The Reserve Strap is available to pre-order today for $US249, and will be available in white, grey, and black, with two different strap sizes for the 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches. The first batch of pre-orders is scheduled to ship out in the fall.