Leaked Apple Watch prototype shows iPad-like Smart Connector contacts in the band slot

A leaked photograph picturing an Apple Watch prototype indicates that Apple a few years back considered bringing the iPad’s Smart Connector to its wearable device.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • A collector shares images of an Apple Watch Series 3 prototype
  • The device has Smart Connector-like contacts in the band slot
  • These metallic contacts seem to be for unreleased smart bands

A photo of Apple Watch prototype showing two iPad-like Smart Connector contacts in the band area
Image Credit: Giulio Zompetti / Twitter

An Apple Watch prototype with Smart Connector-like contacts

Developer Giulio Zompetti shared on Twitter an image of an Apple Watch Series 3 prototype with a pair of metal contacts visible on either side of the diagnostic port in the band area.

The connectors are exposed to the band prompting Zompetti to speculate that Apple may have experimented with using this Smart Connector-like feature from the iPad to accommodate unreleased Apple Watch smart bands much easier than the current implementation allows.

When will Smart Connector come to Apple Watch?

Now, Apple creates multiple prototypes of a product, each with a slightly different design and set of features. The Apple Watch, of course, is no exception. But with only one prototype ending up as the real thing, you can never be sure whether a feature Apple tested but ultimately abandoned might eventually crop up in the future.

If anything, these images suggest Apple at some point played with the idea of ditching the current band mechanism on the Apple Watch in favor of a Smart Connector-like connector we’ve already seen on iPads.

Featured rugged cases for Apple Watch Series 6

We can’t help but wonder whether the company may eventually replace the current band mechanism with something more akin to magnetic connections used on iPads and iPhones. On one hand, doing so would inevitably affect the current landscape for Apple Watch bands and accessories. On the other hand, we saw those kinds of transitions in the past with the move from the 30-pin connector to Lightning so it shouldn’t be much of a problem.