If you visited your nearest Apple retail store since the Apple Watch’s April 10 debut, you were probably delighted by the special display retail units that combine the Apple Watch and a bigger screen to provide a cool interactive experience.
Tapping any app or option on the Apple Watch instantly puts up an animated description of the feature on the second screen. It’s instantaneous, fun and seamless.
Thankfully, a set of documents and images published recently by a Brazilian regulatory agency, and shared by BlogdoiPhone, gives us an in-depth look at how Apple engineered these display retail units and how they work.
According to the regulatory documents and images, the display cases affix an Apple Watch at a comfortable viewing angle using a special proprietary band. This band incorporates a Lightning cable that connects to the Apple Watch’s hidden diagnostic port inside the groove of the bottom strap connector slot.
The other side of the cable plugs into the display case and gets routed to an iPad mini. This allows for real-time interaction where tapping an option on the Apple Watch sends the corresponding command to the iPad mini, which then displays relevant information on its screen.
Given that Apple Watches inside these display units remain powered throughout the day, we can speculate that the diagnostic port may also be used to feed the power to the watch.
Another possibility: the display box may contain a battery that provides power to both devices, as indicated by what appears to be a Lightning port or USB-C connection on its back.
Keep in mind that’s just a thought exercise on my part because the regulatory filing makes no mention of how the Apple Watch display retail units are powered.
For what it’s worth, Apple hasn’t said whether or not its recently announced ‘Made for Watch’ program allows accessory makers to develop bands with built-in batteries that would charge the device through the diagnostic port’s six-dot brass contact.
For what it’s worth Reserve Strap has apparently confirmed that the diagnostic port can indeed be used for charging the Apple Watch.
Signing off, given that the Brazilian regulator agency has now published Apple’s documents it’s reasonable to assume that Brazil will be amongst the second wave of Appel Watch launch countries.