Hidden Diagnostic Port on Apple Watch Could Allow for Smart Band Accessories [Updated]

apple_watch_sensorAhead of Monday's media event where Apple is expected to provide final details on the Apple Watch, a new report from TechCrunch details a hidden "diagnostic port" inside one of the channels on the Apple Watch where watch bands slip into place. While the port is currently used only for diagnostic purposes, the report argues it could be used in the future to interface with "smart band" accessories bringing additional functionality to the watch.

The port has a 6-dot brass contact array inside the groove for the ‘bottom’ strap connector slot. Several sources have confirmed its existence and placement to me. It is very similar to the connector for the Lightning connector in iPhones, as that connector currently only uses 6 of its 8 available pins. Apple recently began opening up the Lightning port for use by third parties. A source says that this port is currently for diagnostic purposes only — but that there is nothing preventing it from being a connection port for future accessories.

TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino is careful to state that he has no knowledge of any plans by Apple to launch such smart band accessories, but the idea remains an intriguing one. Possibilities for such bands include additional sensors, external batteries integrated into a band, and more.

Apple revealed a number of high-level details about the Apple Watch at the device's unveiling last September, but even now with a launch set for next month there is still much that remains unknown, including pricing details beyond the $349 starting price. Apple will undoubtedly address many of the details at Monday's events, but some of the technical details will likely need to wait until the device launches and users and technical experts can get a closer look at the device.

Update 2:13 PM: The diagnostic port will not be included on the Apple Watch that ships to consumers, according to 9to5Mac.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Top Rated Comments

t0mbola Avatar
120 months ago
Battery strap, here we go...

Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mad Mac Maniac Avatar
120 months ago


Update 2:13 PM: The diagnostic port will not be included (http://9to5mac.com/2015/03/05/apple-watch-has-a-lightning-port-for-development-but-wont-when-it-ships/) on the Apple Watch that ships to consumers, according to 9to5Mac.

Now that's the Apple that we know and "love"
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AleXXXa Avatar
120 months ago
Who's buying this launch day?

I'll continue to bite my tongue because I thought iPads were useless when they first launched, but now I own one.
iPads are still useless. You can't do anything special on them that you can't do on a laptop or on a smartphone.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmChimera Avatar
120 months ago
Who's buying this launch day?

I'll continue to bite my tongue because I thought iPads were useless when they first launched, but now I own one.


I am. Wait is killing me.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
taptic Avatar
120 months ago
But can it connect to this?



I'll be wearing it on my other arm...
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
120 months ago
"Update 2:13 PM: The diagnostic port will not be included (http://9to5mac.com/2015/03/05/apple-watch-has-a-lightning-port-for-development-but-wont-when-it-ships/) on the Apple Watch that ships to consumers, according to 9to5Mac."

That's an awfull lot of engineering and manufacturing effort to be discarded. Just saying, if it exists now, it's not likely to be eliminated, even if at first it's only used for diagnostics...

The whole backside seems like a lot of engineering for just a hear rate sensor. Compare the backside of Watch to the competition:

Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)