19 hours of mixed use

Reported Apple Watch battery life, chip capabilities surface

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Tim Cook alluded to a daily recharge for the Apple Watch when introducing the device and that’s looking more likely, according to 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman. His sources say Apple originally planned for, and seems to be meeting, between 2.5 and 4 hours of active use on a single charge.

Clearly, there’s a limited amount of space for the watch battery, which is one part of the equation. Then there’s the parts that drain the battery such as the display and processor. Gurman reported that the custom chip inside the [company]Apple[/company] Watch — named the S1 — is akin to the company’s A5 processor used in the iPod touch and iPhone 4S. That should provide a solid balance between performance and battery life with a reported on-screen frame rate of 60fps.

Apple Watch metallic chain

How much of a balance? Here’s Gurman’s information on reported testing being done by Apple:

Our sources say that Apple is targeting 2.5 hours of “heavy” application use, such as processor-intensive gameplay, or 3.5 hours of standard app use. Interestingly, Apple expects to see better battery life when using the Watch’s fitness tracking software, which is targeted for nearly 4 hours of straight exercise tracking on a single charge.

I don’t quite get the gameplay reference — are you really going to play Flappy Birds on your wrist every day? — so it’s more likely a proxy for app usage. The fitness figure makes sense though since tracking sensors don’t require much power with the exception of a GPS radio. Instead, much of that battery drain is likely due to on-screen statistics such as steps taken, running distance and pace.

According to Gurman, Apple is shooting for 19 hours of mixed use for the first-generation Apple Watch which is on par with some of the currently available [company]Google[/company] Android Wear devices.

Others can go for up to two days on a charge with mixed usage but even these benefit from a nightly recharge. Since iPhone owners are the obvious target here — the Apple Watch will require an iPhone to work — and they’re already plugging in their handset each night already, I don’t think it will be an issue to charge the Apple Watch daily as well.


6 Responses to “Reported Apple Watch battery life, chip capabilities surface”

  1. Robert Hancock

    Two words: battery strap.
    From way the strap slots into the body curves, “all” Apple has to do is incorporate contact surfaces into the slot and battery technology into the strap—just saying! Perhaps sell the battery strap as an option?

  2. Wearables currently seem to be more trouble than they’re worth. Battery tech is lagging too far behind silicon tech. I’ll probably get a low-end AppleWatch but my expectations of it are also very low. I don’t intend to do any energy draining types of use and hopefully just the bio-sensor use alone won’t drain the battery too quickly. As long as it records the data I can look at it later after it’s downloaded from the watch. I’d be happy if Apple built some wrist device that was much bulkier than what it is just to get a longer battery life. I know that isn’t Apple’s goal, but for me it would be much more practical. I’m not looking for some fancy-ass, almost-watch-thingie. I’d rather have some sort of bullet-proof wrist-mounted data recorder that’s nothing like a conventional watch.

  3. “nearly 4 hours of straight exercise tracking on a single charge.”

    That sounds off. Does it mean that the sensors are not always on and you need to activate them? That would be laughable …. but then again, the device already is laughable even if it’s not worse than expected.