The Apple Watch’s diagnostic port has been a mysterious part of the wearable lineup since the first model, but the new Series 7 officially shut down the six-pin port completely.
Intended for internal diagnostic use, the port was not officially recognized on Apple’s website or documentation. But the diagnostic port briefly hinted at the ability to expand the Apple Watch with hardware accessories.
The most famous of these was the Spare Band, which attempted to use the port to extend the battery life of the Apple Watch by including extra batteries in a specially made band that would fit directly into the diagnostic port. The port actually offered faster charge than Apple’s own magnetic cable.
Unfortunately, Apple quickly blocked that possibility and spare tire (along with pretty much every other attempt to use the port for useful purposes). For the Apple Watch’s subsequent life, it remained usable for its intended purpose: diagnostics for internal Apple use and repairs.
Of course, Apple still needs a way to run diagnostics on the Apple Watch and appears to be replacing the mysterious port with an even more mysterious 60.5 GHz wireless module that mates to a magnetic dock capable of local data transfer for internal use. That has led to some speculation that Apple is using the Series 7 as a testbed for a future portless iPhone that could use similar technology to replace cables for connecting to a computer. But if years of the useless diagnostic port have taught us anything, it’s that sometimes there’s no greater significance or usefulness to be found in proprietary diagnostic tools.