Apple Launches 'Made For Apple Watch' Certification Program, Forbids Magnetic Charging Straps

If anyone cares enough to make a meme about Apple's "Made for Apple Watch" program, it would read, "Brace yourself, third party Apple Watch bands are coming." You can bank on it now that Apple's given third-party developers the green light to forge ahead with compatible bands for its line of smartwatches, they just need to follow a set of guidelines to win Apple's approval.

The Made for Apple Watch program is similar to the company's existing MFi accessory program for iPhone, iPad, and iPod devices. And if past precedent is any indication, you can expect mass participation among third-party accessory makers looking to cash in on the hype with new and customizable parts for the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Bands

One thing that's curiously missing from the guidelines is any mention of or permission to use the hidden diagnostic port that developers are eager to play with. By accessing the port, developers could potentially extend the battery life of Apple Watch devices. At least for the time being, any such bands that offer to do that or pull off any other tricks by way of tapping into the diagnostic port will not win official approval from Apple. In addition, Apple outright says that "bands must not integrate magnetic chargers" -- boo!

The guidelines for bands and lugs can be found on a new webpage that Apple launched. On the top of the page, Apple calls the Apple Watch it's "most personal device yet," which ties in to letting third-party developers create custom accessories.

Officially approved bands will have to pass certain environmental tests and meet specific criteria. Apple also makes recommendations for materials in constructing lug bodies and latches, both of which it advises to use 50-55 percent glass filled nylon.

You can access the entire set of guidelines here.