Apple has changed the terms of its ‘Made for Apple Watch’ licensing program to allow accessory makers to integrate charging pads directly into third-party docks and stands for the Apple Watch, 9to5Mac reported Thursday.
Currently, makers of Apple Watch stands and docks are prohibited from providing Apple Watch charging pads so, for example, stands like Twelve South’s HiRise for Apple Watch typically have an opening into which users themselves must insert the charging pad that came with their Apple Watch.
As a result, the current crop of Apple Watch stands and docks offer sub-optimal user experience because users cannot just unbox their accessory and start using it right away. A good example, as already mentioned, is Twelve South’s HiRise for Apple Watch, which I recently reviewed.
As shown on these photos, the setup procedure for this accessory requires you to run the cord for the Apple Watch’s inductive charging puck down the back of the support pad using the pre-cut groove and then route it tightly through the base before inserting your own charging pad into the cutout on the support pad.
While not something an ordinary person wouldn’t understand right away, it’s definitely a hassle that likely spoils first-time experience for some people. With an updated ‘Made for iPhone’ terms, this’ll become a thing of the past as future accessories will ship with integrated charing pads.
As a bonus, users won’t have to buy a separate Apple Watch charging puck for travel just because they had to use their original cable for an Apple Watch accessory.
Again, less hassle for the user, better user experience.
To this end, the component Apple provides is basically a round magnetic pad on which the Apple Watch can rest and charge. The part reportedly looks “very similar” to the bundled cable.
The component is reportedly available in “sample quantities” to ‘Made for iPhone’ members, but vendors cannot submit their designs to Apple just yet. This probably indicates that the first crop of Apple Watch docks and stands with integrated charging pads shouldn’t be expected before the end of this year.
Note that Apple already permits third-party vendors to use officially licensed Lightning cables for their accessories and lugs for third-party Apple Watch bands so this is a natural and much welcomed extension of the ‘Made for Apple Watch’ licensing program.