The Apple Watch’s diagnostic port has been a mysterious part of the portable series since the first model, but the new Series 7 completely drops the six-legged port altogether.
First noticed by MacRumors, the lack of a port can be seen when you remove the bottom strap from an Apple Watch Series 7 – the company has removed the hidden plate and the port behind it. The port was intended for internal diagnostic use and was not officially recognized on Apple’s website or documentation. But the diagnostic port briefly hinted at the possibility of expanding the Apple Watch with hardware accessories.
The most famous of these was the spare belt, which tried to use the port to extend battery life by inserting extra batteries into a custom-made belt that would slip directly into the diagnostic port. In fact, the port also offered faster charging than Apple’s own magnetic cable.
Unfortunately, Apple quickly blocked this capacity and spare belt (along with pretty much every other attempt to use the port for useful purposes). In the subsequent life of the Apple Watch, it remained useful for its intended purpose: diagnostics for internal Apple use and repairs.
Of course, Apple still needs a way to perform diagnostics on the Apple Watch and seems to be replacing the mysterious port with an even more mysterious 60.5 GHz wireless module paired with a magnetic dock capable of local data transfer to internal use. This has led to some speculation that Apple is using the Series 7 as a test bed for a future portable iPhone that could use similar technology to replace cables for connection to a computer. But if many years of the useless diagnostic port have taught us anything, it is that sometimes there is no greater meaning or utility in proprietary diagnostic tools.