Third-Party Apple Watch Bands May Be Coming Soon Following Launch of New Guidelines
Apple today debuted a new developer site (via Macotakara) titled "Creating Bands for Apple Watch", which includes band design guidelines for third-party companies looking to make bands for the Apple Watch. The design guidelines include requirements for the bands to achieve Apple certification in the new Made for Apple Watch program, which is similar to the already established Made for iPhone program.
Apple Watch bands are easily changed with simple release buttons and lugs that secure the band to the Apple Watch case. When creating your custom bands, refer to the band design guidelines and lug profile. Apple Watch lugs will be available soon through the Made for Apple Watch program.
Firstly, the bands must integrate with the two lugs that mate with the Apple Watch Band Interface. They also should not integrate magnetic chargers and the lug latch must never be jammed while in an extended position. Bands also cannot prevent a user's skin from maintaining direct contact with the Watch's heart rate sensors or general back area. The band themselves must also compensate for any potential shifting or dimensional changes in material.
Apple also has recommendations for the materials that lugs and lug latches should be made of, with the lugs being made out of a specific silicone, nylon or stainless steel while lug latches are recommended to be made out of either nylon or stainless steel. Other requirements for band materials include compliance with applicable environmental regulations in regions where bands are intended to be sold.
Finally, Apple has physical requirements for what the bands for Apple Watch are not allowed to do, which include not obstructing Apple Watch hardware items like the mic or speaker, the charging pad, the antenna, and the heart rate sensors. They also cannot extend beyond the sensor windows, cover the glass or interfere with the Digital Crown or Force Touch.
While the Apple Watch only launched a little over a week ago and many early adopters have yet to receive their new devices, interest in third-party bands has been growing, with some using parts from the Classic Buckle to make their own custom bands. The guidelines for the Made for Apple Watch program are now available, and it's likely the first official third-party bands could be seen in the coming months.