Apple employees 'have set low expectations' for 'iWatch' battery life - report

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited September 2014
One of the biggest issues associated with color touchscreen smartwatches has been battery life, and the same problems may persist with Apple's first foray into the wrist-borne wearable devices market, according to a new report.

iWatch
iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton


Apple employees familiar with the so-called "iWatch" have reportedly "set low expectations" for the device's battery life, according to Jessica E. Lessin of The Information. Though she didn't offer any specifics on how long the device is said to last, the first Android Wear devices are advertised to last about a day before they need to be recharged.

Poor battery life is one of the chief complaints about Motorola's new Moto 360 watch, which uses Google's new Android Wear operating system. For example, Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal said in her review that the unit needed to be charged as frequently as twice per day.

Some of the more basic smartwatches on the market, such as the Pebble, can last up to a week on a single charge. But those devices lack touchscreens and use low-power black-and-white displays to achieve longer uptime between recharges.

Rumors have suggested Apple's so-called "iWatch" will be the company's first device with OLED display technology, which can use considerably less power than traditional backlit LCD displays.

Concept by Martin Hajek.


And Apple has also purchased companies with power efficiency improvements in mind, including LuxVue, a power-efficient micro-LED maker, and Passif, a power-efficient chip manufacturer. But Lessin noted that such acquired technologies could take years to integrate into new products.

Her sources have led her to believe that the uptime on Apple's "iWatch" will be "disappointing," though she cautioned that Apple itself could be "sandbagging" its claims in order to impress with the final shipping product. Lessin also reaffirmed that the wearable device is expected to launch next year after being unveiled at an event next Tuesday.

Lessin also said she expects the "iWatch" to boast voice-enabled controls, mobile payments, health monitoring, and most of the other features that have been rumored to be integrated into the device.




Concerns about the battery life of the still-unannounced "iWatch" come as hype has reached a fever pitch --?so much so that a months-old developer document with a nondescript icon of a watch with a round face began gaining attention Friday afternoon, after being noticed by Punchkick Interactive. Some see the vague drawing as a potential hint at the final design of the "iWatch," though given Apple's legendary secrecy and highly compartmentalized product development policies, that seems unlikely.

The excitement only serves to underscore how little is actually known about the "iWatch." But it's expected that all will be revealed next Tuesday, Sept. 9, when Apple holds its keynote presentation at the Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif. AppleInsider will be on-hand, and readers can get up-to-the-minute alerts with the official AppleInsider app for iPhone and iPad.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 78
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    Annnnddd - the winner for "New low in Journalism" award goes to yep, you guessed it Jessica E. Lessin !

    She sure does show her ability here - remarkable to pluck a story out of thin air for a non-existent product.
    With a graph even !
    Well done

    oh wait - she has some serious competition from established "noted" tech journalists...
    oh what the hell - I'm going to to award her with it anyway.
  • Reply 2 of 78
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    A lot of power saving measures come from software tricks, and Apple tends to share code between devices, so one way to see what they're up to might be to look for new power management code in iOS 8 betas.
  • Reply 3 of 78
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Apple employees familiar with the so-called "iWatch" have reportedly "set low expectations" for the device's battery life, according to Jessica E. Lessin of The Information.

     

    I’m fine with this, even if* she’s lying.

     

    For once we have an analyst LOWBALLING Apple. That’s good. We need to see more of that. We need to see more analysts out on the street, starving to death with a cardboard sign reading “will short stock for food”, but one step at a time.

     

    *”What do you mean, if?”

  • Reply 4 of 78

    OK... the iWatch 1.0 has been intro'ed, delayed, copied, reviewed, trashed for lack of NFC terminals, for security problems, for useless battery life, etc. etc.

     

    Sick of it already.

     

    I am ready for iWatch 2.0! Bring it on!!

  • Reply 5 of 78
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    It doesn't take much to lowball an electronic watch when there isn't a market clamoring for one unlike music players (read iPods) or cellphones (read iPhones) prior to their launch.
    And from what has leaked so far it's all very uncompelling to say the least.
  • Reply 6 of 78
    Perhaps they could find a way to recharge by the back of the iWatch/iTime using skin/sweat, just like salt water activated batteries on lifejackets.
  • Reply 7 of 78
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Why is this surprising? People want everything under the sun in these devices and then complain because the battery life sucks.
  • Reply 8 of 78
    joshajosha Posts: 901member
    How can these devices be called watches,
    if they would lose the time so soon when the battery dies ?
  • Reply 9 of 78
    Stop publishing garbage AI
  • Reply 10 of 78
    Short battery life can be compensated for by continuous recharging. Since any wearable device will be in continuous motion, and be worn by a warm body, heat and kinetic energy can be used. Add wireless charging via the NFC, one might be able minimize the problem.
  • Reply 11 of 78

    Typical Apple, setting low expectations for themselves. /s

  • Reply 12 of 78
    After watching the dreadful Samsung Unboxed 2 event and their massive Galaxy Gear watch on actual wrists, anything Apple announces or releases will be a step up.
  • Reply 13 of 78
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    According to 9to5Mac's 3rd hand sources, "iWatch" will have a square display, battery life of less than 24 hours and look techie good but not fashion-y. http://tinyurl.com/oogyo98

    I get the feeling someone is trolling people hard because none of that sounds like something that would worry Switzerland.
  • Reply 14 of 78
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,510member
    I’m fine with this, even if* she’s lying.

    For once we have an analyst LOWBALLING Apple. That’s good. We need to see more of that. We need to see more analysts out on the street, starving to death with a cardboard sign reading “will short stock for food”, but one step at a time.

    :lol:
  • Reply 15 of 78
    iOS itself has a major flaw that will prevent the iWatch from having long battery life: When the screen is off, apps are forced into background mode and are severely limited in what they can do. For example if you want to stream video from your iPhone to your AppleTV, the iPhone must remain fully on with the screen lit and the app in the foreground. If you click the screen lock button the video stops. You can't even play the audio portion of a conference video through your ear pods with the screen locked (this feature worked in iOS 5). Not only does this greatly reduce battery life, it also is a security issue since anyone can pick up your iOS device and access any of its data when the screen is locked. Imagine you are taking a long lapse photo. Someone could pick up your device when your back is turned and read your e-mail. An app can't use the camera when it is in the background. Hopefully Apple can address this limitation of iOS for all devices including the iWatch.
  • Reply 16 of 78
    5500 ma/h battery or won't get!
  • Reply 17 of 78
    dimmokdimmok Posts: 359member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GrangerFX View Post



    iOS itself has a major flaw that will prevent the iWatch from having long battery life: When the screen is off, apps are forced into background mode and are severely limited in what they can do. For example if you want to stream video from your iPhone to your AppleTV, the iPhone must remain fully on with the screen lit and the app in the foreground. If you click the screen lock button the video stops. You can't even play the audio portion of a conference video through your ear pods with the screen locked (this feature worked in iOS 5). Not only does this greatly reduce battery life, it also is a security issue since anyone can pick up your iOS device and access any of its data when the screen is locked. Imagine you are taking a long lapse photo. Someone could pick up your device when your back is turned and read your e-mail. An app can't use the camera when it is in the background. Hopefully Apple can address this limitation of iOS for all devices including the iWatch.

    I wouldn't say Major Flaw….HBO GO App on the iPhone can stream with iPhone screen turned off…yet some others require the iPhone screen to be on like you say.

    Although I guess you can just run HBO Go through Apple TV eliminating the need for Airplay (ing) it.

  • Reply 18 of 78
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,572member
    yojimbo007 wrote: »
    Stop publishing garbage AI

    This is my main complaint with AI. They post all these rumor articles, then lace it with "allegedly", "reportedly", "purportedly" or "shaky report" or "suspicious sources."

    If you're questioning the report and damning it in your own text, why waste the time in reporting on it?
  • Reply 19 of 78
    Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

    They post all these rumor articles, then lace it with “allegedly", "reportedly", "purportedly" or "shaky report" or "suspicious sources." If you’re questioning the report…



    Do you know what a rumor is?

  • Reply 20 of 78
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DarenDino View Post



    Perhaps they could find a way to recharge by the back of the iWatch/iTime using skin/sweat, just like salt water activated batteries on lifejackets.



    Salt water batteries don't get their energy from the seawater, it just acts an a electrolyte.  You can't get any energy out of sweat.

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