Get ready, aftermarket Apple Watch straps are on the way

Apple Watch milanese loop detail
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
If Apple’s range of straps for the Watch doesn’t tempt you, then get ready, bands made by third-party companies are on the way. Apple has released a set of guidelines for creating alternative straps for the Apple Watch, and a website promoting the process to developers. This means the choice of straps available for the new wearable is about to get much, much larger.

Apple’s not taking any chances with its approved bands, and has laid down several strict rules to make sure they live up to expectations. Developers will have to make sure their straps meet guidelines related to toughness, sturdiness, and the ability to withstand corrosion, plus the amount of force they can take before detaching from the Watch’s body. Straps can’t interfere with the operation of the heart rate sensor — so no NATO-style straps wrapped under the body — and can’t include magnetic charging systems.

Designers will be able to make straps which fit using the Sport strap-style built-in fitting, or by attaching the lugs seen on bands such as the Classic Buckle. These lugs will be sold separately in the near future, according to Apple’s documentation, ready to be added to new bands.

An entire industry already thrives around making cases for the iPhone and the iPad, and now Apple has officially given its instructions for creating Apple Watch straps, we’re sure to see many of the companies already invested in Apple’s ecosystem add them to their catalogs.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has already started. Incipio, known for making iPhone cases, has a dedicated webpage up where one can sign-up for updates on its forthcoming Watch strap range. Upon announcement of the Watch, Speck also teased it would be releasing products designed for it, although it’s not clear whether we’ll get a case, strap, or both in the future.

Apple already sells a range of straps for the Watch, but aside from the $50 Sport silicone band, you’ll need to spend $150 to $450 to swap it out. That’s a considerable price gap, and one which other companies will be very keen to fill.

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