Engineering the Apple Watch’s Strap Buttons

Antonio G. Di Benedetto, the Verge:

While I often prefer a universal solution over a proprietary connector, here’s the thing — Apple’s band release button beats the hell out of fiddling with little spring bars and jeweler’s tools. Instead, you just press a near-invisible button, slide your band out, slide another one in, and get a lovely audible click as it locks in. No fuss, no muss; just a simple swap for a different visual vibe to match your style and wardrobe.

But how does it get that precise click, that nearly foolproof snap? Hint: it’s not magnets. My colleague Sean Hollister and I spoke with two ex-Apple engineers who worked on manufacturing the original parts. We quickly learned that it’s kind of the unsung hero of the Apple Watch — despite launching a $1 billion accessory ecosystem and remaining unchanged since its debut eight years ago.

The one thing I have missed most about the Apple Watch after not wearing one for a few years now is this mechanism and its compatible straps. Swapping bands quickly and easily without risking any damage to the watch or the strap is something I have wondered why others have not copied anywhere near as well. After reading this piece, though, I can appreciate why the Apple Watch remains in a league of its own in this regard.