Apple said to be studying inductive, kinetic, and solar charging for ‘iWatch’

“The next breakthrough smartphone, or maybe the one after that, might not have a traditional battery as its sole source of power,” Brian X. Chen and Nick Bilton report for The New York Times. “Instead, it could pull energy from the air or power itself through television, cellular or Wi-Fi signals.”

“Although computer chips have doubled in speed every few years, and digital displays have become significantly brighter and sharper, battery technology is largely stuck in the 20th century,” Chen and Bilton report. “Device makers have relied on incremental improvements to battery power, now usually supplied by a decades-old lithium-ion concoction, in combination with more energy-efficient chips and screens.”

“Engineers at Apple even tried for many years to build a smarter battery by adding solar charging to iPhones and iPods, a former Apple executive said. And they have continued to experiment with solar charging, two people who work at the company said,” Chen and Bilton report. “For its wristwatch, Apple has been testing a method to charge the battery wirelessly with magnetic induction, according to a person briefed on the product.”

“Another experiment at Apple has involved charging the battery through movement, a method that is already used in many modern watches,” Chen and Bilton report. “A person’s arm swinging could operate a tiny charging station that generates and pushes power to the device while walking, according to a patent filed by Apple in 2009”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz,” “Dan K.,” and “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

7 Comments

  1. Apple studies all kinds of things for decades.

    This has nothing to do with real devices that Apple makes or going to make.

    Both solar and wireless charging is obviously nonsensical for iWatch as they increase weight and size of devices, and limit materials from which they could be done. Apple loves metal, and this would not work with it.

  2. Sadly, solar cells remain remarkably primitive. 12% energy conversion efficiency, which is low. They require being out in direct sunlight. Using them indoors behind window glass renders them nearly useless. You might as well have a general charging station, with as big a solar cell as you can afford, stuck on your roof. There is zero point in putting a solar cell on any portable device unless its as low powered as a calculator.

    Then the power storage problem. I’m glad the ‘gee whiz’ factor is dead over hydrogen fuel cells. You’re not going to wear one. Meanwhile, battery technology has stagnated and remains somewhat prone to overheating.

    But necessity is the mother of invention! It will be interesting to see what happens.

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