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When the Apple Watch first appeared on the market, a number of companies were striving to create third party watch bands to fit various needs of users. For one, users were asking for more battery power. And that’s where the Reserve Strap excelled, delivering 30 hours of battery life to the wearable. But unfortunately, Apple’s latest update to WatchOS renders this functionality completely useless.
The Reserve Strap was one of the earliest advancements in accessories for the Apple Watch, bringing more battery life to the device through its sleek band. The watch band utilizes the “secret” diagnostics port on the Apple Watch to communicate with the device, charging it while you wear it. The band packs three lithium polymer cells inside of the rubberized and water-resistant band, and meets all of Apple’s official band design guidelines.
However, WatchOS 2.0.1 disables the use of this port, thus making the Reserve Strap useless.
The creators mention on their blog, “In recent WatchOS releases, Apple made the decision to remove all functionality from Apple Watch’s accessory port thereby blocking Reserve Strap’s ability to charge the Apple Watch. This was a deviation from how the port functioned in all previous WatchOS releases and appears to have been a deliberate effort to block development of third party smart bands.”
As of now, the company is asking Apple to open up functionality once again so it does not render their bands useless. They are not asking Apple to support the band; but rather, for the users to decide as to its fate. Customers running WatchOS 2.0 and earlier can still use the band, but upgrading the operating system will disable the charging feature on the Reserve Strap.
Perhaps this was a move so that Apple could start working on its own charging watch bands? Earlier this month, Apple has been granted a patent for its own ‘smart bands’. The patent was approved earlier this month, and features innovative Apple Watch bands that could plug into other accessories, bringing new possibilities, like new fitness sensors, to the wearable device.