Proprietary Dock Apple Uses to Wirelessly Troubleshoot Apple Watch Series 7 Surfaces in Regulatory Database

The Apple Watch Series 7 models lack a diagnostic port under the band, which means Apple has to use another means to troubleshoot and restore Apple Watches that come in for repair.

apple watch dock 1
Apple Watch Series 7 models are equipped with a module that enables 60.5GHz wireless data transfer as we discovered in FCC documents in September, with that data transfer capability designed to be used with a proprietary magnetic dock.

The dock was mentioned in one of the FCC filings, but we didn't have a clear visual of it until now. Brazilian regulatory agency Anatel has approved the Apple Watch Series 7 models and provided photos of the dock that Apple is using internally, with the information shared by Brazilian site MacMagazine.

The Apple Watch Series 7 dock is clearly designed for diagnostics, and it has a two piece construction. An Apple Watch charging puck fits into the bottom piece, and then a second piece housing the Apple Watch itself fits over that and aligns with bolts.

apple watch dock 2
Prior to the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple included a diagnostic port on Apple Watch models, with the port hidden under the band. It's not clear why Apple has shifted to wireless diagnostics, and it's also not known how fast the wireless data transfer is. It likely uses USB 2.0 with speeds up to 480Mb/s.

apple watch series 3 diagnostic port

The diagnostic port on Apple Watch Series 6 models and older

There is no word on whether the wireless data module added to the Apple Watch Series 7 could ever have a consumer-facing application, but for now, it's for Apple's internal use only.

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

Top Rated Comments

ProfessionalFan Avatar
34 months ago

Considering that it is used to diagnose failures on Apple Watches, that is expected. A diagnostic dock is expected to be functional, not stylish
I'm aware, I wasn't being serious.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
34 months ago

Overdone as in, alignment, for instance, the top part is where the Watch would go in, it could be done in a much-simplified design, as in, you don't need the top part, just add alignment to the base.

It's overdone.
Eh, it looks like it's designed to get sub-millimeter-accurate placement, and to hold the Watch in that position for long periods of time without moving, to be quick and secure to set up accurately without any fiddling (thus the tapered pins), and to withstand hundreds or thousands of uses without that accuracy degrading. I see something a bit over-designed, but intended to stand up to a lot of use, without wasting employee time ("oh, the transfer failed partway through because the watch got bumped").

It also looks like you could potentially have one base and multiple top parts, so multiple watches could be secured into top parts while waiting their turn to be hooked up to the computer that's connected to the bottom part. It's designed to be able to quickly take one top part out and drop the next top part in, without a lot of alignment needed.

If it were more fiddly, if it took more time to align, or occasionally let the watch slip out of alignment during the procedure, or lost accuracy to wear of adjoining surfaces over time, that would lead to it, on average, taking longer to repair any given watch, meaning either a larger backlog of watches to repair, or having to build more testing rigs and hire more technicians to repair the same number of watches. I don't think it's overdone, I see a nice tool. Maybe not the way I would have designed it, but well designed for the intended purpose, nonetheless.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ProfessionalFan Avatar
34 months ago
My watch dock is much more stylish than that
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
5105973 Avatar
34 months ago
That’s their problem. As long as they have figured out a way to diagnose and repair the watches on their end, it’s all good. I never pay any attention to these ports anyway.

I want to wear the Apple Watch into water and have it withstand chinchilla dust baths, so I’m glad for the advances that help make that happen.

(I don’t actually have a chinchilla. But I have to empty my bagless vacuum canister at least twice a week and that’s about as dusty as being around a chinchilla taking a dust bath. Nobody wants to hear about my vacuum cleaner struggles. But I think we all can appreciate a chinchilla enjoying a good dust bath.)

Attachment Image
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JCCL Avatar
34 months ago

My watch dock is much more stylish than that
Considering that it is used to diagnose failures on Apple Watches, that is expected. A diagnostic dock is expected to be functional, not stylish
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ProfessionalFan Avatar
34 months ago

I don't understand the logic of not including a diagnostic port but going through the effort to create this dock thing? Seems kind of backwards to me.
Probably for the dust rating on the new watch
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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