Ever since Apple introduced Nightstand mode in watchOS 2, having a charging dock for the Apple Watch makes sense. A dock can hold the Watch in place while you sleep so that you don’t have to put it on the side and attach it to a charging cable like an animal. Today, Apple launched an official Apple Watch charging dock that works both in Nightstand mode and as a flat charging pod. But it’s an expensive accessory as it costs $79.
The circular dock seems to be made out of plastic with the usual magnetic charging puck in the middle. The charging puck supports two positions — you can adjust it from flat to upright. In some way, it looks like a tiny cushion for your Apple Watch
Contrarily to unofficial Apple Watch docks, Apple’s dock doesn’t rely on an Apple Watch cable. The charging puck is built into the dock. Instead, there is a Lightning port at the back of the dock.
It seems like Apple wants to use Lightning ports everywhere. The new keyboard, mouse and trackpad all come with a lightning port and a lightning cable. Even the new Apple TV remote has a lightning port to recharge the battery.
So once again, Apple is selling its new Apple Watch dock with a long lightning cable (2 meters). But it seems like it doesn’t come with a USB power adapter. Other than that, there isn’t much to say about this dock. It won’t add any feature to your watch, it’s just a nice accessory if you plan to replace your alarm clock with your Apple Watch. For instance, you can press the digital crown to snooze your alarm and your watch won’t move.
$79 is a bit pricey for an Apple Watch dock. Apple’s official iPhone dock costs $39 for example.
Yet, an expensive dock makes sense for the Apple Watch. If you care about beautiful things like the Apple Watch, you might want to get a beautiful stand for your home. After all, you may have just spent more than $1,000 to get an Apple Watch Hermès. And nobody is forcing you to buy a dock. But maybe I was expecting something different.
Other third-party Watch stands have been available for months — some of them even look better than this big white circle. My favorite third-party stand is Twelve South’s Forté. This piece of metal and leather supports Nightstand mode and costs $59. It isn’t cheap, but it looks good. There are cheaper alternatives as well.
It all comes down to taste. I’m sure many will like the small with cushion metaphor. The Apple Watch dock is already available in some Apple stores right now, and on Apple’s website. You can already find unboxing videos on YouTube and packaging photos on Twitter.