On Monday, Apple posted guidelines for creating bands for Apple Watch under Apple's "Made for Apple Watch" program. And, unsurprisingly, people are throwing a little fit about one of the requirements:
"Bands must not integrate magnetic chargers."
For all of you getting ready to rant on Twitter after reading that, deep breaths: I'm going to tell you why this is, in fact, a good thing.
Apple doesn't want your skin to burn off
Simple science: Chargers — and their respective devices — get hot as they charge. If Apple were to allow third-party manufacturers to make bands with integrated chargers or battery packs, not only would it make your Watch overly bulky, but you'd likely suffer some mild to moderate burning on your wrist whenever it turned on. Given that the company has no desire to get a reputation for products that might burn its customers, I'm 100 percent not surprised that Apple has put the kibosh on magnetic-charging watches through the bands.
"Bu-bu-buh my iPhone can have a charging case and it's in my pocket, like, all the time!" Yep. Pocket. Or bag. Not directly on your skin, nor is the Lightning port or charging interface directly exposed. On your Watch, the magnetic charger is part of its underside; thus, to juice up your device, any band would have to wrap around the bottom and place its charging interface directly on your wrist.
You don't want to electrocute yourself, either
Here's another reason why a charging band is a bad idea besides potentially turning your wrist into the Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark: moisture.
In Apple's Watch user guide, the company specifically advises against charging in any place where water might be present, for the following reasons:
"[It] can cause fire, electric shock, injury, or damage to Apple Watch or other property."
Given our hands and wrists come into contact with lots of different kinds of moisture throughout the day, I think I'd prefer my watch dying an hour or two earlier over being electrocuted — wouldn't you?
Bands shouldn't interfere with heart and wrist sensors
Now, even if a company were to make a hypothetical band that incorporated a magnetic charger and you weren't worried about burning or electrocuting yourself, there's still one big problem with such a device: It would probably block your Watch's health sensors, and with it, your access to Apple Pay.
As we ran into last week with the heavily tattooed, if the Watch can't tell you're alive, it can't use wrist detection to automatically unlock your device. That means if you plan to use Apple Pay — or really, any feature of the Watch other than the clock face — you'll have to enter a passcode every time you wake the Watch. You could turn wrist detection off, but then your Watch's information would be available to anyone who picked it up (or pickpocketed you), nor would you be able to use Apple Pay.
In short: Not worth it.
You don't need a wearable charger
Because, really, let's be honest: You're not going to need to charge your Watch while you're wearing it. The Watch has had a pretty unanimously good battery rating from most everyone who's tried it — iMore included — dipping low during the evening only for those who were using it heavily for exercise or repeated phone calls and messaging. (In my personal opinion, after having used an Apple Watch for a few weeks, I think it's more likely you'll want to charge your iPhone during the day than your watch.)
Say that you do run low on battery during the day: It's easy enough to take the Watch off and charge it for half an hour to an hour. After a few hours of roller derby practice, I do this while I take a shower and eat — I don't particularly need my Watch while I shower, and 45 minutes is enough to give it at least a 40 percent increase in charging. (Apple's official specs say that you can charge the Watch to 80 percent in just 90 minutes, and a full charge in 2.5 hours.)
Now, all that said, I'm sure there will still be developers that attempt to make some sort of charging band — they just won't have Apple's official "Made for Apple Watch" branding behind them. After all, there's a company currently attempting a charging band by trying to use the Apple Watch's diagnostic port. So if you really, truly, one hundred percent think that a charging band is necessary to improve your Apple Watch experience — there will be options available for you. They just may not be good options.
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