True innovation or false bravado – A take on Apple’s most talked about stuff – The watch bands

A rectangular bezel is not the only reason that has put off a lot of people into buying the new apple watch. If the iPod nano and the iPhone6 were to have a baby, it would look ridiculously similar to an apple watch. Wouldn’t it? It’s not unattractive, but it is definitely not on the chunkier side of things.

But what is most interesting about this watch is its straps. Apple has single-handedly revived the traditional watch strap style not only to make it look trendy or classy but also cool and innovative – after all, how easy it is for the users to effortlessly change new bands at their will. Otherwise, this was the kind of work best left to the jewellers.

Changing the band on an apple watch is a pretty easy affair. On the rear end of the watch, you have two buttons strategically placed at the top and bottom of the case. These buttons help in releasing the bands. Now, to connect a new band, all you need to do is slide the band inside the slot; and press the band release button and slide it out to remove it. Voila! Piece of cake, isn’t it?

Strap attachment

 

Four of Apple’s patents have been granted just for the band design. One of them, USD724103, is for strap attachment, as shown in the image above.

What is disappointing is the fact that all these patents seem to talk more about the ornamental design rather than the mechanism of how the attachment works which otherwise can easily be intuited by looking at its mechanism.

Nonetheless, to many of us, this is an impressive design, but companies like Cartier and Jaeger LeCoultre have had similar band designs for years.  Jaeger LeCoultre’s Master Compressor Black Alligator uses a spring bar. But just like the Apple Watch, it also has two buttons at back for releasing the band form the watch – not exactly like that on the apple watch but surprisingly similar.

Reports claim that the apple watch has, what looks like, a 6 pin diagnostic port underneath the apple watch case which can be used for charging. The Reserve Strap, a company that was first to introduce a strap for the Apple Watch, plans to take advantage of this using a simple, retractable connector instead of the previous inductive charging cradle design.  They say, by utilizing this port instead of wirelessly charging, they have been able to achieve higher charge capacity and quicker, more efficient charging times while also improving durability and eliminating any interference with Apple Watch functionality including taptic feedback and heartrate sensors. This could by far be the most innovative feature on the apple watch.

The Reserve Strap’s six pin charging concept

It raises the question of how other accessory makers will take advantage of this discovery.  It makes us hopeful that, much like Pebble Time’s connected accessory port, companies could build straps with functions that run beyond just recharging the device. For example – an additional sensor such as blood glucose-level detector; a digital thermometer or any other circuitry embedded in a smart strap.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions from here. Some of the inventions may be influenced by different other ideas; some may not. If we take into consideration the fact that John Ive thoroughly studied Horology at the time he was designing Apple watch, it could very well be inferred that some of the ideas were borrowed from the history as well.

An idea may not be utterly novel, but as is so often the way with most of the technology-driven companies out there, they take existing functions and make them better. In a time where every company is ambitiously trying to out-innovate the competition, perhaps, a different and broader approach is required.

 

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