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Apple Watch 7 has a secret wireless module you can't use — here's why that's a big deal

Apple Watch 7 ECG
(Image credit: Apple)

Will Apple adopt USB-C for iPhones, or will it go straight to portless devices? That’s the big question on a lot of people’s minds right now, and there’s no obvious answer. But the Apple Watch 7 could offer a few clues as to what Apple has up its sleeve.

According to an FCC filing, the Apple Watch 7 has a 60.5GHz module for wireless communication with a secret dock. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind of thing Apple Watch 7 owners will be able to use.

The Apple Watch has always had a hidden diagnostic port that’s off-limits to users. It’s not clear whether Apple has ditched that physical port this time around, but it seems there’s now a wireless option. Presumably, the secret dock is meant to make it a little easier for the folks at the Genius Bar to sort out any problems.

The idea of the portless iPhone isn’t new. There were rumors that Apple could launch a portless phone alongside the iPhone 13, while some leakers have claimed that Apple’s plan is to go from Lightning to portless with no in-between.

Obviously, there are challenges to be had with portless phones, as the Lightning or USB-C port is the main way to both recharge the battery and transfer large amounts of data. No port means there needs to be a wireless workaround, and ideally one that would be just as reliable as a wired connection.

Apple already has a port-free charging solution in the form of MagSafe, though it is limited to 12W charging speeds right now. The wireless diagnostic module on the Apple Watch 7 suggests that data transfer isn’t going to be a concern either.

Whether this transfer would be incorporated into MagSafe or some other data transfer dock isn’t entirely clear, if it even happens at all. Just because something exists on one Apple product doesn’t mean it’s going to launch on another. USB-C, which is available on MacBooks and certain iPads, is the perfect example of that in action.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. After all, the EU has already made more threats to force Apple to adopt USB-C, and with Lightning having just hit its ninth birthday, it seems as though Apple needs to get itself in gear and figure out what the future holds.

The answer of whether Apple is going to be wireless or USB-C isn’t likely to be revealed for a while. We’re just going to have to patiently wait for the iPhone 14 leaks and rumors to start hitting the web with great frequency.

Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.