The ongoing conundrum of smartwatches and battery life continues. According to 9to5Mac, a source involved in the development of the Apple Watch has revealed that Apple is targeting up to 19 hours of battery life under light to heavy use. Before you prepare for your full-day-Apple-Watch-Angry-Bird sessions, there is a caveat. “Heavy use” or “active application use” will be limited to somewhere between 2.5 and 4 hours.
This leak comes after Tim Cook mentioned on WSJ stage last October that the device would likely need to be charged every day due to the “profoundness” of the device. Profoundness in this statement is likely referencing the depth of activities which you can achieve with the device. However according to 9to5Mac’s inside source, with very minimal use you may be able to get up to 3 days out of the device:
As of 2014, Apple wanted the Watch to provide roughly 2.5 to 4 hours of active application use versus 19 hours of combined active/passive use, 3 days of pure standby time, or 4 days if left in a sleeping mode. Sources, however, say that Apple will only likely achieve approximately 2-3 days in either the standby or low-power modes…
The battery life challenge is no doubt due to the technical innards of the device. The Apple watch touts the S1 chip processor which is on par with the A5 processor found in the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2. Also carrying a retina class display (i.e. – pixel density so high that they are not visible to the naked eye) it’s no wonder that Apple is struggling to find room for a large enough battery to last longer than a couple of days.
While some may consider 4 hours of active use as too low, you must consider that smartwatches were created to be a relatively passive experience. If you want to play games or heavily surf the web, you’re likely to pull out your phone or tablet due to screen real estate. The Apple Watch was designed to be used in quick burst such as using Apple Pay to make a payment, making a phone call, viewing a text, or even fitness tracking. Most of these activities are background activities or will likely rely on your smartphone to do the heavy lifting; such as calling and texting.
The Apple Watch’s battery life is on par with what consumers have come to expect with smartwatches that have come before it. Both the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch R average between one and two days of moderate use. The Pebble is currently the strongest battery life contender at 7 days of battery life, though that comes at the cost of using a less than desirable E-Ink screen.
Apple is purported to use Magsafe technology to charge the watch. Magsafe charging is available on a number of Macbook devices and involves delivering a charge simply through contact without the use of ports which allows the device to be completely sealed. It will be interesting to see if Apple is able to innovate on this technology further to simplify the daily charging process of our phones, tablets, Macbooks, and now smartwatches. There are only two outlets per socket, they’re going to need a solution if they want to dominate the electronic ecosystem of an individual.
What are your thoughts on the Apple Watch’s battery life? Do you think up to 18 hours of battery life is too low? Or does the benefit of a smartwatch by Apple outweigh another device to charge? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.