Apple releases specifications for third-party Watch bands

Don't like the stock bands and straps included with the Apple Watch? Third parties may soon be able to design and sell officially licensed bands of their own. New documentation on Apple's developer portal suggests an upcoming "Made for Apple Watch" program will ensure that third-party straps conform to Apple's own standards for tolerances and durability.

Band makers seeking Apple's approval will need to consider a number of restrictions. Most notably, approved bands can't include magnetic chargers, obstruct the Watch's sensors, or prevent the bottom of the device from maintaining direct contact with the skin. Bands will also need to conform to regulations regarding hazardous or allergenic materials like nickel, latex, PFOAs, and pthalates. For bands that use lugs similar to Apple's Classic Buckle, manufacturers will need to get approved parts through a distributor of Apple's choosing.

This level of restrictiveness is typical of Apple, but it's understandable—the Watch is a luxury good, and Jony Ive probably doesn't want shoddy third-party bands spoiling the timepiece's clean lines. Unofficial bands will doubtless flood the market with time, but it's nice to know that ones carrying Apple's blessing will be built to a high standard of quality.

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