The dream of charging your Apple Watch with a battery-powered band is officially dead, for now.
This time last year, a third-party accessory maker discovered a hidden port on the Apple Watch and decided to create a product around the feature — a wristband that would power up your Apple wearable on the go. In fact, the company promised that the band would extend the battery life of the Apple Watch by a whopping 150%.
However, Apple had other ideas, and now the product is officially dead on arrival.
Reserve Strap, the company making the band, delivered the bad news last week on its website.
“Beginning with WatchOS 2.0.1 an unexpected change to the Apple External Accessory Protocol disabled the functionality of Reserve Strap,” the message reads on the company’s website.
Previously, the company had planed to use the 6-pin diagnostic port underneath the Apple Watch case to deliver a charge to the device.
“For the time being, Apple has suspended use of this port”
For the time being, Apple has suspended use of this port until they unveil an official MFi program for Watch. In keeping with their wishes we will also be suspending shipment of all orders until Apple supports development of smartbands.”
And while Reserve Strap doesn’t directly accuse Apple of any ill intent regarding third-party accessory makers, in its public memo the company does point out Apple’s patent application titled “Modular Functional Band Links for Wearable Devices.” In that patent application, Apple outlines possible smart band functions in future bands and even mentions “a modular functional band link that includes a battery.”
But even with the cancelation of the $250 Reserve Strap, based on recent developments, the product’s future wasn’t certain anyway.
The company missed its initial November 2015 ship date and pushed back pre-order fulfillments to the first quarter of 2016. As of this writing, the company says that anyone intending on using the Apple Watch with system software prior to the watchOS 2.0.1 (the current watchOS is 2.2) will have their order shipped “in the coming weeks.”
But we’ve already entered the second quarter of 2016, which means the company has already missed its first quarter promise. That’s two missed ship dates. Therefore, there’s no certainty onwhen the Reserve Strap will appear, old watchOS software users or not.
What we do know is that if Apple keeps the Apple Watch alive as a product, based on those patent applications, we’ll probably get to see smart bands offered in the future with battery chargers and even notification functions.
In the meantime, the next time you see an unsupported Apple accessory, use this situation as a lesson to proceed with caution.