Apple Watch Accessories: What to Expect
Apple officially unveiled its Apple Watch yesterday, to the typical hype and fanfare. Among the big reveals: Several models ranging in price from $349 to $1,099, a host of iPhone integration capabilities (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth communication, app downloads and transfers) and an 18-karat gold encased version starting at a budget-friendly $10,000.
But what about accessories? Apple didn't say much there, which leaves a lot of room for speculation—and since tech gear is such a big part of the promotional products market, that's exactly what we're going to do. Here are a few potential Apple Watch accessories to, um, watch for.
Apple touted "all-day battery life"—18 hours—at the live event, but that's based on Apple's estimates. The watch's true battery life will become clearer once the device starts hitting users' wrists, but what we do know is this: You're going to need to charge this thing often. For now, that means using the watch's included USB charging cable, but third-party models are likely soon to follow (so long as they're authorized).
And then there are charging docks. One company, Griffin Technology, has already introduced its WatchStand—a pedestal that charges the watch and looks kinda like a monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. (That's a good thing.) The watch attaches magnetically to the top of the dock and charges automatically. SlashGear reported that Apple plans to release technical details on the watch's charging apparatus, for use by third-party manufacturers. So expect more charging and display docks in the near future.
Apple will sell its own replacement bands and offer the watch in a variety of band colors, and SlashGear noted that Apple will also release strap design details for third-party use. But of course, not everyone's waiting around for that.
According to 3DPrint.com, two companies, 3D Systems and FreshFiber, have teamed up to create 3-D printed, interchangeable Apple Watch bands. Still in the "concept stage," the designs will be printed in Everlast nylon material. And while it's unclear if they'll be ready for the Apple Watch's April launch, it seems like a sure thing that they'll happen soon—the companies already produce and sell bands for the Nooka watch.
At least one other company already has plans to offer a third-party band—this one with a twist. A startup is offering the Reserve Strap, a "silicon band with embedded lithium polymer cells and an inductive charging cradle between your wrist and the Apple Watch." Essentially, it's a Watch-compatible version of the charging cases that are widely available for phones.
Cases and Travel Gear
Waterfield, a San Francisco-based tech accessories retailer, has already added an Apple Watch travel case to its product offering. Available online in seven colors and two different materials, the case measures 7" in length and is designed to hold the watch and a handful of accessories—Bluetooth earbuds, extra watch bands, etc.
So far, Waterfield appears to be the only company that's brought dedicated Apple Watch travel gear to market, but the category seems like one that could blow up soon. Unlike smartphones, the watch isn't particularly conducive to hardshell protective cases, which make up a huge part of the tech accessories market. Pouches, sleeves and travel cases could fill that void.