Apple Watch battery will be replaceable to extend device's lifespan

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited March 2015
In the event that the Apple Watch battery needs to be replaced, Apple technicians will be able to swap the component out, although the company hasn't elaborated on how the replacement process will be handled.




The information was shared by a spokesman with TechCrunch, who suggested that Watch owners will likely need to send their device to Apple to have the battery swapped for a fee.

The Apple Watch isn't designed to be opened easily or accept conventional watch batteries. Instead, it uses a rechargeable battery topped off through an inductive charger.

The company has been touting "18-hour all-day battery life" for the product. This is however based on a "mixed usage" scenario with a 38 mm model, as Apple states in its marketing, comprising "90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth over the course of 18 hours."

A 42 mm Watch "typically experiences longer battery life," Apple remarks.

In practice, some functions can also consume considerably more power if they're used for long, such as workout tracking or music playback. Phone calls in particular are a massive drain, such that doing nothing but taking a phone call will shrink battery life to three hours. A faulty battery could potentially become a serious issue.

More details about the Apple Watch should arrive as the April 24 launch date approaches.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    Regarding swapping out batteries. I wonder if the entire guts are not easily replaced. Having watched (no pun intended) the videos showing the machining of the cases, the innards must just pop in it would seem so presumably can just pop out? Maybe easier to swap out than fiddle with if there were a problem. I was tempted to say new versions could be installed too, but Apple will no doubt want to make a newer thinner design in the next year or so.
  • Reply 2 of 55
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Regarding swapping out batteries. I wonder if the entire guts are not easily replaced. Having watched (no pun intended) the videos showing the machining of the cases, the innards must just pop in it would seem so presumably can just pop out? Maybe easier to swap out than fiddle with if there were a problem. I was tempted to say new versions could be installed too, but Apple will no doubt want to make a newer thinner design in the next year or so.

    I'd expect them to be. Note that everything is stack atop each other. I assume access is first through the ceramic base but then the larger components need to come through the display. We'll need iFixit to detail that part of it. I'm still hoping this stacked design and a one in both CE and fashion means they created interconnects that will last a very long time so the SIP can be updated later on, too.


    PS: The best way to indicate there was no pun intended is to not even acknowledge the pun. :smokey:
  • Reply 3 of 55
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,918member

    I think it would be very beneficial to sales if the guts of the Watch could be upgraded for a fee. If that's possible, and if that's Apple's intent, they should be making a big deal out of it. 

     

    I think people would be much more likely to drop $600 on a steel watch if they knew that in two years they could upgrade the guts for $200 or $300. 

     

    At least, I sure would. 

  • Reply 4 of 55
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

     

    I think it would be very beneficial to sales if the guts of the Watch could be upgraded for a fee. If that's possible, and if that's Apple's intent, they should be making a big deal out of it. 

     

    I think people would be much more likely to drop $600 on a steel watch if they knew that in two years they could upgrade the guts for $200 or $300. 

     

    At least, I sure would. 




    Apple may not know yet, they could still be deciding.

  • Reply 5 of 55
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    blastdoor wrote: »
    I think it would be very beneficial to sales if the guts of the Watch could be upgraded for a fee. If that's possible, and if that's Apple's intent, they should be making a big deal out of it. 

    I think people would be much more likely to drop $600 on a steel watch if they knew that in two years they could upgrade the guts for $200 or $300. 

    At least, I sure would. 
    Since when are Apple products upgradable? I can confirm with you now: never. Apple want to sell more Watches in the future. It's dumb business move to make watches upgradable. Biggest margin comes from the case. Why would they want to sell only the gut to you? SS is $200 more than aluminum: BOM - $5, profit - $195.
  • Reply 6 of 55
    rcfarcfa Posts: 763member
    I don't get the pricing: yes, luxury watches go for 5-figures, but these are heirloom pieces, mechanical, as up-to-date in 100 years as now.

    AppleWatch? Next model in a year, a new model a year after that, etc. and no more software updates after 3-4 years.

    So who in their right mind other than some Sheik in Saudi Arabia who uses 100 Dollar bills to kindle a fire in their Skilodge built inside an artificial, climate controlled mountain in the midst of the desert would waste $17k/year (or every 4 years if someone willing to spend that kind of money can bear being seen with an outdated product...) on what's essentially a disposable electronic gadget?

    So for one, I hope Apple makes the guts upgradable, for two I hope they get finally rid of their obsession with product anorexia: I rather see the same thickness and a watch that lasts a week and can e.g. gather sleep data, than a thinner watch with the same borderline 18h life.

    Even better: make the damn thing if need be a bit thicker and incorporate power generation from wrist movement, light, heat, etc. such that while worn and not used too much, the thing can do without ever being charged.

    So, yes, Apple's got some explaining to do, particularly since the difference in material cost and product price is in no relation whatsoever.
    The golden AppleWatch seems to be the equivalent of one of these early "I'm rich" apps for the iPhone that didn't do anything other than signal that someone was willing to pay $999.99 to have an icon on the home screen that showed he was able to waste that much cash to signal that he could.

    As is, I'd only expect rapper to wear such expensive bling, but it's too tasteful and classy for that subculture. Leaves sheiks and Russian oligarchs, respectively their trophy wives and mistresses...
  • Reply 7 of 55
    beltsbearbeltsbear Posts: 314member
    fallenjt wrote: »
    Since when are Apple products upgradable? I can confirm with you now: never. Apple want to sell more Watches in the future. It's dumb business move to make watches upgradable.

    Never say never. The apple iie was upgradable to the gs with an official Apple motherboard swap. Half the readers here may have not been born yet.
  • Reply 8 of 55
    toysandmetoysandme Posts: 205member

    "In the event that the Apple Watch battery needs to be replaced"

     

    Are you kidding? A battery that has be charged 365 times a year might need to be replaced someday? I'm sad to learn that Apple's battery won't last forever.  

     

    If the battery lasts "up to 18 hours" when new, it will be down to 14 or even 12 hours after about a year of use. This is totally unacceptable. Then you have to send it away and wait for the UPS guy to deliver it to your door (Apple does not ship to PO Boxes) when you're not available so you have to spend a few more days to chase it down, etc. I'll pass. 

  • Reply 9 of 55
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,428member
    fallenjt wrote: »
    Since when are Apple products upgradable? I can confirm with you now: never. Apple want to sell more Watches in the future. It's dumb business move to make watches upgradable.
    Exactly. if Apple follows their previous patterns the 2G watch will be a substantially different design than the 1G. Which means the guts of a 2 or 3G watch will NOT fit in the 1G, any more than the guts of a 3G iPhone or iPad will fit inside the case of a 1G product.

    Apple has a lot of improvements to make on future generations of these watches, a significant aspect of which will be updating the styling to stay on the cutting edge of fashion, and that means a one year product cycle most likely rather than the current 2-3 year cycles it's products currently have. Internals will be custom fit into each new case mod. So people need to get over this idea of swapping the internals, even if you buy a $17,000 Edition. Melt it down, and apply the cash to your new Edition. The old watches, are junk as soon as Apple stops supporting them in 5 years.
  • Reply 10 of 55
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,121member
    I expected battery replacement.

    I don't expect apple to upgrade the watch every year. I think it will be more like and iPod: it will always do what is could do when sold.

    I also expect price drops instead of updates. This product looks priced to make money at low volumes. If the volumes go up, apple might just drop the price every year until a new model comes out (every 2-3 years, maybe).
  • Reply 11 of 55
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,093member
    blastdoor wrote: »
    I think it would be very beneficial to sales if the guts of the Watch could be upgraded for a fee. If that's possible, and if that's Apple's intent, they should be making a big deal out of it. 

    I think people would be much more likely to drop $600 on a steel watch if they knew that in two years they could upgrade the guts for $200 or $300. 

    At least, I sure would. 

    If that's your plan, then I suspect you'll be selling your older watch before the new model arrives.
  • Reply 12 of 55
    tenlytenly Posts: 707member
    eriamjh wrote: »
    I expected battery replacement.

    I don't expect apple to upgrade the watch every year. I think it will be more like and iPod: it will always do what is could do when sold.

    I don't think that's reasonable to assume since at least with this first version, we know that much of its functionality is performed by the iPhone that's paired to it. I'm not sure we can rely on all of the same functions being available into the distant future so that the watch can keep doing what it was originally doing forever and ever.
  • Reply 13 of 55
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    solipsismy wrote: »


    PS: The best way to indicate there was no pun intended is to not even acknowledge the pun. :smokey:

    Where's the fun in that? :D
  • Reply 14 of 55
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Where's the [pun] in that? :D

    Missed opportunity?
  • Reply 15 of 55
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,351member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     



    Apple may not know yet, they could still be deciding.


    I agree. And even if they have sorted it out, there is little to be gained by showing all their cards.

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post





    Since when are Apple products upgradable? I can confirm with you now: never. Apple want to sell more Watches in the future. It's dumb business move to make watches upgradable. Biggest margin comes from the case. Why would they want to sell only the gut to you? SS is $200 more than aluminum: BOM - $5, profit - $195.

    Well...I actually think their biggest margin is from the bands. I do think there will be third party bands showing up, and the hell with any patents. Samesung can copy stuff wholesale and get away with it, so I see compatible bands showing up. Wonder what Apple will do?

     

    The "rubber" bands are not attractive. But that's your option to get a launch product to try. Betcha $10 bands show up on eBay by late April.

  • Reply 16 of 55
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,300member
    mac_128 wrote: »
    Exactly. if Apple follows their previous patterns the 2G watch will be a substantially different design than the 1G. Which means the guts of a 2 or 3G watch will NOT fit in the 1G, any more than the guts of a 3G iPhone or iPad will fit inside the case of a 1G product.

    This thing is on your wrist. Other than offering a new model with a round screen, or some incredible breakthrough in batteries where they could make it vastly thinner I'm curious to hear your thoughts on what they could do that would justify changing the physical dimensions so dramatically that your concern might even be remotely valid?

    Electronic components generally shrink over time, so that new internals might be bigger is probably not much of a risk, and the last time I checked smaller things fit inside bigger things rather easily and not so much the other way around.

    I can see lots of valid questions and concerns about the Apple watch, but I just don't get these comparisons at all. There were no constraints on the iPhone design other than Apple's sensibilities. With a watch there are two pretty hard boundaries - for the small size of the scale making the display readable and you being able to touch targets with your finger. For the upper bound on large, the limit to which people are willing to tolerate a large object on their wrist.

    Compared to the design options for a phone or tablet (which are basically unbounded judging the large numbers of iPhone 6+ that have been sold) there is a pretty narrow range for them with the watch.

    Or, as i asked in another thread, do you think the fact that the Apple Watch looks very similar to many other smart watches was just them being lazy vs. some other very good reason?
  • Reply 17 of 55
    stevehsteveh Posts: 480member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post



    Since when are Apple products upgradable? I can confirm with you now: never. 

    Depends on the product. At the high end, like the Mac Pro, internal memory, processor, and storage can be upgraded. I haven't seen any video upgrades yet, but the video card isn't soldered in place.

     

    MacBook Pro SSDs and batteries can be replaced, if not easily by the user, same for MacBook Airs. (Yeah, the battery is glued in place; that's what heat guns are for.)

     

    iPod, iPhone and iPad batteries can be replaced, if not trivially easily.

  • Reply 18 of 55
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BeltsBear View Post





    Never say never. The apple iie was upgradable to the gs with an official Apple motherboard swap. Half the readers here may have not been born yet.

    Oh, that's back in the day and Apple almost disappeared later. New business model, new products now. I would bet $100 that this will never happen.

  • Reply 19 of 55
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by steveH View Post

     

    Depends on the product. At the high end, like the Mac Pro, internal memory, processor, and storage can be upgraded. I haven't seen any video upgrades yet, but the video card isn't soldered in place.

     

    MacBook Pro SSDs and batteries can be replaced, if not easily by the user, same for MacBook Airs. (Yeah, the battery is glued in place; that's what heat guns are for.)

     

    iPod, iPhone and iPad batteries can be replaced, if not trivially easily.


    We're talking about the whole gut of the watch...that's beyond impossible. Mac Pro is upgradable for some minor parts only like RAM and such...but motherboard? NO.

  • Reply 20 of 55
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    ... but Apple will no doubt want to make a newer thinner design in the next year or so.

     

    It's possible that Apple could make the ?Watch smaller and smaller every few years as technology advances.

    But remember: Rolex, Omega, and TAG Heuer, for example, never slim down their flagship watch models.

    Doing so would obsolete the Rolex you bought in 2012, and that obsolescence would hurt sales.

    If Apple wants to break into the high-end watch market for the long run, they'll keep the ?Watch design as-is. 

     

    I think it's quite possible that the ?Watch will remain the same size for decades.  Just with longer battery life.

    Because the processing power is really all in your iPhone anyway and the Retina screen can stay as-is.

    The limiting factor in how long a 2015 ?Watch will last just might be the lifetime of the OLED screen.

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