Apple issued design guidelines for third party Apple Watch Band developers so that they can begin manufacturing aftermarket bands for the Apple Watch soon, according to Tech Times.
The “Band Design Guidelines for Apple Watch” program started last week, and helps fulfill Apple’s promise of offering wearers band choices that came with the initial Apple Watch announcement, according to Tech Times.
Apple also promised consumers that changing bands would not be difficult. Apple said it would be something they could do at home themselves, though the Apple Watch Sport has only one complete band in the box — making band swapping difficult.
The introduction of the band program means users will have many more options to choose from in the near future.
Apple Watch opens floodgates for third-party bands with official guidelines http://t.co/DGzAeCPZjr— Mashable (@mashable) May 5, 2015
Apple is actively courting developers in the hopes they will want to participate in the program.
“Apple Watch is out most personal device yet. Give users more choice to express their style by designing beautifully crafted bands for Apple Watch.”
Available for third party manufacturers, the Design Guidelines come complete with Apple Watch design specs and lugs information (ZIP) so that manufacturers can keep their band designs in line with Apple’s vision while allowing for user comfort and choice.
It’s now up to the third party accessories manufacturers to help Apple keep the promise of easy to change bands.
Apple also expects those who take part in the band program to keep up with Apple’s strict policies, while the average Apple Watch wearer can now get a glimpse into how Apple designs its watches.
While it may take some time to start seeing official Apple-sanctioned third party bands on the market, it does not mean that Apple Watch owners can walk into just any store and buy just any old type of band.
In fact, according to Tech Times, Apple’s Watch designs and watch sizes are proprietary. This means Apple owns the designs and sizing. If just any manufacturer were to sell watch bands outside of Apple’s Band Design program, that manufacturer would be in clear violation of Apple’s trademark and patents.
According to Apple’s guidelines, manufacturers must create bands that meet Apple’s strict specifications for design, functionality, and quality, while keeping in line with Apple’s environmental standards, as well.
This includes instructions as intricate as what size and thickness the band should be, how far out the lugs should be, and even the percentage and type of metals the manufacturer should use to make lugs – if the third party manufactures chooses to make them instead of waiting for Apple to start selling them in quantity.
Overall, the guidelines provide everything a third party Apple Watch band manufacturer needs to create a functionally stylish band that doesn’t cut the user off from, or interfere with, any Apple Watch feature.
Especially important, according to the Apple Guidelines, is that a band not interfere with the Heart Rate monitor. The band must fit snugly enough to keep the monitor working properly, but it cannot pinch wearers, either.
Any manufacturer that wants Apple’s official stamp of approval on its third party Apple Watch-compatible bands must take part in the program.
While some see this as Apple trying to strangle the third party band after-market, Apple likely sees it as the only way to ensure quality and consistency across all Watches, just as it does with any other Apple-compatible accessory.
According to the Verge, although the third party Band Design program is only open to third party watch band makers, Apple could potentially extend to program to other accessories manufacturers in the future.
[Photo Credit: Apple Inc.]