Third-party Apple Watch bands were on the market even before the smartwatch launched last month — but now Apple is pulling in strap makers with a new developers' program.
Like the similar "Made for" programs for iPhone, iPad and iPod ("MFi"), the Apple Watch specifications are intended to ensure the accessories comply with Apple performance standards. For Apple Watch bands, that means using the appropriate sizes and materials compatible with its features and environmental regulations. It also means following the company's ban on integrated magnetic chargers.
There's no mention of integrating accessories with Apple Watch's hidden diagnostic port, a possibility many developers are hoping will be added in the future. That could allow faster charging or even battery straps, though other developers argue that the port is hidden for a reason.