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The Reserve Strap powers down after a change is made to the Apple Watch software

Official smartbands could arrive with the next-generation device
That iThingy You're Wearing
April 18, 2016

The Reserve Strap for the Apple Watch is essentially dead.

A dose of power

A dose of power

Originally launching preorders last summer, the $249 strap was designed to provide up to an extra 30 hours of battery life for the wearable device. But the company recently announced that a significant change to the WatchOS software no longer allows third-party developers to access and use the hidden diagnostic port.

Reserve Strap’s Lane Musgrave explains more about the issue:

Beginning with WatchOS 2.0.1 an unexpected change to the Apple External Accessory Protocol disabled the functionality of Reserve Strap. Until this change, Reserve Strap functioned perfectly–extending the battery life of Apple Watch by over 150% in many cases allowing users to keep their Watch charged for up to a week.

Specifically, this bug interferes with the communication between accessories and Apple Watch. For the time being, Apple has suspended use of this port until they unveil an official MFi program for Watch. In keeping with their wishes we will also be suspending shipment of all orders until Apple supports development of smartbands.

If your Apple Watch is still running WatchOS 2.0 or earlier, the strap will still function without any issue, and the company can ship your order “in the next few weeks.”

Hope for an official program

Hope for an official program
The Reserve Strap attached to the hidden diagnostic port on the bottom of the watch.

The Reserve Strap attached to the hidden diagnostic port on the bottom of the watch.

While that’s definitely disappointing for the company and anyone who ordered the accessory, there is a bit of hope.

In the blog post, the company pointed to a recent Apple patent application dealing with smartbands. The application details a technology similar to the Made for iPhone program that allows third-party accessories to communicate with iOS devices.

The company asks anyone interested in the strap to email Apple or submit feedback on Apple’s site in support of an official smartband program.

Apple has been rumored to be interested in adding different smartbands to the wearable device even before the first-generation watch hit the market. The straps could possibly capture more accurate medical information and more.

We could see the second-generation Apple Watch sometime this fall along with the “iPhone 7.”