charging ▪ May 4

photo credit: iFixit

This weekend, my colleague Jordan Kahn broke the news that “accessory makers plan to tap Apple Watch’s hidden port for battery straps and faster charging,” which is entirely true based on already-expressed developer interest. There is indeed a six-pin port nestled inside one of the watch band recesses, completely covered with a metal panel to obscure its functionality. Unfortunately, Jordan’s story has been picked up elsewhere to support the claim that the hidden port will be “a goldmine for accessory makers.” I hate to take issue with these reports, as the concept — exploiting a hidden port to make new accessories — is exciting, but I have one word for people who are planning to build or buy accessories reliant upon that port:

Stop.

Stop before you spend $250 to order an accessory that might never arrive or work properly. Stop before you spend $250,000 to build an accessory that might never ship, or might ship and then stop working.

The Apple Watch is not the first Apple product with an undocumented connector. There’s a very good reason the hidden port is there — and it’s not for accessories. I’ll explain below…

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charging ▪ May 3

Reserve-Strap

One of the first companies to announce plans to make a battery strap for Apple Watch— allowing you to charge the device while on the go while continuing to wear it— has confirmed plans to tap into Apple Watch’s hidden port to charge the device and offer faster charging. expand full story

charging ▪ April 22

Screenshot 2015-04-22 15.12.41

Apple’s new video about its contributions to environmental protection appears to show a previously unseen and unannounced accessory for the Apple Watch. In a portion of the video detailing chargers for Apple devices ranging from the iPhone to the new MacBook, Apple shows a stainless steel Apple Watch being dropped on a stationary charging dock. This charging dock is noticeably different than the charger that’s included with the Apple Watch, and could be an official Apple alternative to the third-party Apple Watch stands and docks that are about to hit stores…

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charging ▪ April 10

Now that the Apple Watch is officially in the wild, it’s clear that stands and docks make sense for two reasons: they keep metal and metal-accented bands from getting scuffed up, and guarantee a stable charging connection all night long. Some stands also serve as beautiful displays for your Watch, as well. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best Apple Watch stands and docks to help you choose one that’s great for your needs. Every solution relies upon the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable includes in each Apple Watch box, so what you’re getting is a stand with the ability to manage the Watch and charger.

Inside, I’ll show you a large collection of stands that range in price from $20 to $135, with considerably different levels of sophistication. Some are just basic plastic holders for Apple’s charger, while others have really nice designs made from metal, leather, and wood. Updated with new Apple Watch options on August 8, 2015!

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charging ▪ February 23

energislidingpowercase-7

As this photo of the original Mophie Juice Pack and Tylt’s Energi for iPhone 6 shows, iPhone battery cases haven’t changed much over the years. They’ve existed for almost as long as iPhones, and remained ubiquitous due to Apple’s continued focus on thinness over longevity. That hasn’t been great for consumers: as 9to5’s Seth Weintraub put it, people are more impacted by their phones’ battery life than an extra 2mm of thinness.

It took until 2014 for Apple to offer one iPhone model — the iPhone 6 Plus — with all-day battery life, though you have to be willing to accept a much larger footprint to get that. By comparison, the smaller and reportedly more popular iPhone 6 improved only around 7% upon the iPhone 5s in run time, so the typical iPhone user isn’t seeing much of an improvement over prior models.

With a variety of alternatives at Apple’s disposal, including some major chip improvements that are just around the corner, we wanted to pose two questions to our readership. Should Apple take a break from slimming down iPhones to focus on improving battery life? Or should it instead focus its efforts on making battery cases better? Read on for our thoughts, and share yours in the comments section below…

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charging ▪ January 8

Bandstand Standzout

While the Apple Watch is still a few months away from release, a handful of accessory makers at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas have introduced new accessories for the upcoming smartwatch. Standzout is one of the frontrunners in the space with its new Bandstand charging dock for the Apple Watch. Read ahead for my first impressions of the prototype shown off at CES 2015 this week. expand full story

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