There are reasons why we haven’t seen many attempts at an Apple Watch band that discreetly houses a battery for on-the-wrist charging.
For one, Apple discourages them in its “Made for Apple Watch” program guidelines. Chargers can get hot and burn the skin, or worse, cause fire or electric shock if water is present. Such a band could also interfere with the watch’s sensors.
A company called Togvu believes it has solved those problems with a band that debuted on Kickstarter today called the Batfree Power Strap.
Togvu claims its prototype is done and that shipping could begin in May. The silicone strap is set to retail for $79 but early Kickstarter backers could snag one for as little as $35.
Apple Watch battery band: a brief history
The Apple Watch is the world’s most popular smartwatch. Fashion critics initially panned it, but the watch has become a shift style icon thanks to the many companies, from Nike to Hermèś, offering bands in a variety of colors and materials.
But few companies have come up with a band to charge the watch on the go.
In 2015, the Reserve Strap offered a wearable charging solution for Apple Watch by making use of a hidden diagnostic port. But the product was essentially killed when Apple disabled the port with Watch OS 2.0.1.
Apple received a patent for a battery band in 2017, but there’s no indication the company plans to produce a power strap anytime soon.
The Battfree will require a lengthy trial period of extended daily use before anyone declares it a must-have accessory.
The Apple Watch, currently in Series 4, averages about 18 hours of battery life.
Battfree promises to add an extra 27 hours with two 300mAH Li-polymer recharger batteries embedded on the sides of the strap.
Togvu says its band is sweat resistant and with an IP68 waterproof rating can be worn while swimming. A company spokesperson said the soft silicone material is waterproof and the batteries are sealed off with a waterproof adhesive.
A circular wireless charging coil rests just beneath the watch and the user can activate the band with a touch of the watch crown.
The band’s chunky appearance may not earn it a lot of style points, but Togvu is aiming for a more active watch wearer. It claims Batfree is sleek enough to not interfere with the watch’s sensors and health-tracking functions, like the ECG or fall detection.
Additional source: iMore