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Official Apple Watch smart bands rumored for 2016

apple could be plotting to add smart bands the watch
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Filed today under “rumors of questionable authenticity” is a whisper that Apple has plans to bring out a range of smart bands for its Apple Watch wearable device. The proposed straps — which would add to an already extensive line available from Apple — could potentially add extra functionality and perhaps a few hours of additional battery life too.

Czech website Letem Svetem Applem has the story, citing the usual anonymous sources that seem to be employed at every major hardware manufacturer in the world. The report says that the new bands are set to launch next year and are going to include options to measure blood oxygen, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. It’s not the first time we’ve heard rumors that the Apple Watch could keep an eye on your heart.

Related: Get ready, aftermarket Apple Watch straps are on the way

The new smart bands are said to be taking advantage of the secret diagnostic port built into every timepiece but which isn’t accessible to the average consumer. It’s possible that Apple is using the opportunity to add sensors and functionality that it couldn’t quite squeeze into the first generation of the product; Letem Svetem Applem also suggests it’s a way of getting extra revenue from Apple Watch owners who won’t be upgrading every year or even every two years.

Apple isn’t the only wearable manufacturer looking into the idea of smart straps either: Pebble has pledged up to $1 million in support for startups who want to add extra features to its own watch. Everything from NFC readers to GPS trackers could theoretically be added simply by swapping out the provided strap for something else.

It’s not a rumor we’d put too much faith in until it’s reported by one or two additional sources, but it’s one that makes a lot of sense provided Apple can give users a simple way of accessing the diagnostic port — the company knows that if it doesn’t provide this kind of functionality for its smartwatch, other outfits will.