Following Pebble’s announcement that it would open a “Smartstraps” store (opens in new tab) to allow third-party bands with additional functionality on the Pebble Time smartwatch, it looks like Apple is shooting for a similar feature on the Apple Watch.
A report from TechCrunch (opens in new tab) claims the Apple Watch features a small connector on the side, used for diagnostics and bug fixing at the moment. In the future, it might be used to connect smart-bands to the Apple Watch, featuring things like additional battery, health tracking or an LED notification.
This could open up a rather lucrative accessory store for Apple, considering it takes a cut from all verified accessories sold on the Apple Store. It could also sell its own bands for a premium price on the store.
The Apple Watch will feature three sets of bands at launch: metal, leather and rubber, in a large variety of colors. There is no indication that any of these bands will have any smart functionality, meaning customers will be able to swap them out at any time.
Apple will be missing some health functionality on the first generation Apple Watch, due to the Food and Drug Administration in the US not approving Apple’s glucose tracker fast enough.
These will most likely be available in the second edition of the Apple Watch, which will probably be launched in 2016. Apple has ordered over 10 million units for 2015 and wants the smartwatch to push past its iPad and Mac ranges in terms of popularity.