Following claims that Apple Watch can be charged through a 6-pin port hidden in its top strap slot, a video published Wednesday not only proves the concept, but shows a physical connection charges faster than Apple's inductive method.
Earlier in May, accessory maker Reserve Strap said its battery-toting charging strap was capable of powering Apple Watch via an undocumented 6-pin port thought to be included for diagnostics purposes.
At the time, Reserve Strap offered no proof to back up its claims, but today released a video comparing Apple's inductive charging method to a physical connection. As seen below, the proof of concept is rather unpolished and involves lifting Watch's display off its chassis to get to the electrical leads beneath. A finalized product would assumedly require removal of the small metal piece protecting the 6-pin connector on shipping Watch units.
A teardown of Apple's own in-store display pedestal revealed the company taps into the 6-pin port with a specialized Lightning connector cable for charging and data transfer functionality. The company has not made such functionality available to third-party manufacturers, however, and the port itself is not user serviceable.
With lack of documentation and no official word on Made for Apple Watch compatibility, the implications of accessing the 6-pin connector are unknown. Removing the protective panel may diminish device waterproofness, for example, or Watch's power management circuitry and/or battery might not be designed to handle continuous rapid charging.
With or without Apple's blessing, Reserve Strap is moving forward with plans to field the first Apple Watch strap with built-in battery and recharging features.