Apple mum on Apple Watch battery life

“Apple announced its first wearable today, the new Apple Watch. It’s packed with a lot of features, including voice controls, tight integration with the iPhone, custom notifications, and support for Apple Pay, the company’s new payments platform,” Dan Seifert writes for The Verge. “It’s going to be available next year starting at $349.”

“But for all of the talk it did for the Apple Watch today, Apple left out some key details about the product, such as screen resolution, processing capabiliities, and most importantly, expected battery life,” Seifert writes. “Of the smartwatches we’ve seen before, battery life has ranged from five to seven days, down to a mere few hours. Those watches that are able to last multiple days — the Pebble and Meta Watch, most notably — have black and white LCD displays and not the color touchscreen that Apple showed off today. Watches that do have color touchscreen displays, such as the Moto 360, LG G Watch, and Samsung’s Gear line, have pretty poor battery life, with some struggling to last even a full day.”

Apple Watch battery

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As Seifert mentions in his full article, Tim Cook said today, users “charge it at night.” There is no panacea when it comes to batteries. Until the aliens bring us their technology, or fuel cells or something become viable, it’s likely we’ll be dealing with battery constraints for as long as we use batteries. So, expect at least a day’s worth of use. When you go to bed, you do what Rolex owners do with their auto watch winder cases or what most any other watch owner does: You take off your Apple Watch and put it in the same place every night and it’s ready for the next day when you awaken.

60 Comments

        1. I pity you over the importance you place on a measly $349, especially in light of the amazing technology and thoughtful design you’re getting for such an unremarkable sum. If $349 for an Apple Watch is “too much” for you, that says much more about you than it does about Apple.

            1. You’re being needlessly hostile about this. We get it, you don’t like the Watch, it’s not for you… truthfully it’s not for me either, as I haven’t worn a watch in 24 years, and don’t feel inclined to start now, but I’m sure a s shit not going to mock and disparate those who do lust after it.

              Go find something worthwhile to pour your passions into, you are just wasting you time and energy here.

            2. OK botty, it’s time to get back to flipping those burgers for the nice people with money that can afford a small pleasure that may disappear not very long after they buy it. Maybe someday you will be able to afford a treat.

          1. “If $349 for an Apple Watch is “too much” for you, that says much more about you than it does about Apple.”

            It just means he doesn’t see $349 worth of value in this toy.

            I have a Gold Swiss watch I inherited from my Dad and never wear the thing, just like I don’t wear the Seiko Chronograph left over from my time in the Army.

            Botvinnik has a legit opinion that I share- nice technological exercise that is the answer to exactly what pressing need? Other than the sensors there is nothing this toy has that the Phone it is tethered to cannot already do.

            If you wish to spend $349 on a watch- go right ahead and gawd bless you. The same money can buy an iPad mini and leave you $50 for apps.

          2. Gotta say that you can’t get a decent watch here for less than £100 ($160) and probably a fair bit more for something stylish. So to be honest I am surprised considering what you get how relatively cheap this is. After all some know nothings were saying it was going to be around $1000 or so. In a world where even chavs are paying up to £4000 for jacuzzis.

    1. Why don’t you say something original? Same old hash about every Apple trend-setting product before the sales records and the intellectual property thieves go to work. Good luck!

    1. Indeed. This is a very important time for some – like my diabetic wife. I don’t always wake when she has low blood sugar problems. Back to the “I’ll have to buy two” idea, which doesn’t turn me on.

    2. Yeah that’s a bummer for me also. I don’t think they were “mum” about it — it’s gotta be a nightly charge. My Pebble is a weekly charge but it charges in about an hour — so if it’s a fast charge, it’s conceivable you could charge it and then wear it to bed. I’m sure there will be some great sleep monitoring apps — and sleep is a part of HealthKit.

    3. I wonder if it would be possible to put the charger on the face side of the watch when sleeping. Not only would you still be able to monitor yourself while sleeping, if you pull to hard the charger just comes off w/o a fuss or damage. If you want to look at it when you wake up at night just lift the charger for a bit to look. THAT would be useful for those that consider constant monitoring important. Besides not exactly a new concept to have a wired sensor stuck to your body from all those medical scenes on TV. 😀

  1. So it’s not going to track my heart rate, sleep patterns while I sleep as it needs to be charged. Hmmm not impressed. Whoopy 4 sensors that can measure only my heart beat only during the day.

      1. It’s kinda gross to not understand health monitoring, which is 24×7 but doesn’t mean you can’t take it off to bathe. Ok I get it, the iPhone is just a fitness band not a heath band… Bummer.

        1. So what technology do you think can be developed to enable you to never re charge your watch, phone etc? It would be wonderful to have a solution but no solution is possible in the foreseeable future so do you thus say because its not a perpetual motion machine then why bother with machines at all. If you have another solution then please do tell us as replaceable batteries will simply annoy others who need the watch to be sealed. This is a great start as technology improves so will times between charges but hey if you don’t start you never get that anyway. Meanwhile Im off to complain about my Model T not doing 80mpg.

          1. Well, if you’re talking existing tech, one possibility would be to use your sweat to create a charge (There is now a temporary tattoo that does this) or some of the material that creates a charge due to difference in temperature on the exposed opposite sides, solar panel on the wrist band.. Lots of possibilities to offer small charges which will help extend time between ‘full’ charging with the inductance charger.

    1. Even if the battery lasted 3 days, you would still be off health monitoring whenever it charged. Some people might wear the apple watch at night and charge for an hour in the morning. My iPhone 5s seems to reach full charge from empty in about 40 mins or less, so there would be that gap in your health stream. The apple watch might charge even more quickly.

      1. While true that your iPhone may charge in 40 via a 1A/2A charge, we don’t know the batter capacity nor the charge rate (probably not as high) and since the ‘charge at night’ was mentioned, I suspect charge time in leaning towards hours not minutes.

      1. No you didn’t, the word “alert” was not mentioned, but I guess you’ve never used a monitoring device like Basis (now owned by Intel) or you’ll understand. Hint, 4 sensors, is there more capacity than Apple discussed?

  2. I HOPE it gets a full days battery life. The Motorola 360 is said by Motorola to have a days charge, but needs to be charged during the day.

    I’m also hoping that when it does come out that they’ve got an improved battery from what they may be expecting to put in now. And that may be why battery life wasn’t mentioned today. But that’s just speculation.

    They did mention a waterproof speaker and a sealed SoC for water resistance, so hopefully there is that.

  3. So I’m sitting there at the gate, waiting for yet another flight to somewhere. I finally found a power outlet (had to beat up an old lady) and I plugged in my iPad, my laptop, my iPhone and now my Apple Watch–it’s a business trip so I’ve got to have them all. Good thing I carry a power strip along with all those chargers.

    1. As usual, MDN said it best:

      “There is no panacea when it comes to batteries. Until the aliens bring us their technology, or fuel cells or something become viable, it’s likely we’ll be dealing with battery constraints for as long as we use batteries.”

      Whining isn’t going to cause fundamental natural limitations to evaporate.

      1. But there is also no panacea for shipping something before you’ve solved the “natural limitations.”

        Battery life HAS to be at least 12 hours, but should really be closer to 3 or 4 days.
        The sleep-tracking features are a pretty big in a health-oriented fitness watch.
        And yes, the sport version has to be waterproof.

  4. This “expert” and likely others are not really thinking it through, about how Apple Watch works and does its “magic.” Apple Watch does not need to maintain its own wireless internet connection, because the nearby iPhone does that part. Apple Watch does not need to actually “process” the Siri voice input, to determine what you said and formulate an appropriate response, because iPhone does it. Most of the “heavy-lifting” is done by iPhone, with its (relatively) “big” battery. Apple Watch focuses on providing data to iPhone (such as from the health/fitness sensors), and displaying optimized info from iPhone on its always accessible screen. The “division of labor” is smartly optimized between iPhone and Apple Watch.

      1. Yes… As Apple’s presentation stated, “Apple Watch requires iPhone. It works with iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, and 6 Plus.”

        So, although it can do some things independently, it is designed specially NOT to replicate things you normally do on iPhone, such as play games, surf the web, take photos/videos, play videos, compose emails, etc. AND, it let’s iPhone do most of the work when it is part of the activity.

    1. So are you saying that communication with the iPhone will draw less power than if those functions were handled in-house (on the Watch)?

      My old iPhone 3 battery lasts seemingly forever now that it doesn’t connect to phone and data service. Wi-fi still, sure, but it can stream audio forever.

      I’m not sure about which uses more, much less by how much, but I don’t think offloading those processes necessarily saves that much battery.

      1. Of course it will, and it’s not just about battery power. If Apple Watch needed to have its own high-power processor that can quickly process Siri voice input and respond appropriately, it would be impossible with current technology (even if it had the battery power). Apple Watch works (in general) and seems “magical,” because iPhone is doing most of the work. Apple watch is an extension of iPhone.

        It’s not that different from how iPhone works… For example, the heavy-lifting for Siri is done on Apple’s servers, not on the iPhone. iPhone does not store ALL of the Maps data in its local storage; it’s downloaded “as needed.” Apple Watch just adds another layer to this optimized distribution of processing, and Apple is VERY good at implementing it.

    2. Would it be possible to use most if not all the functions of the iWatch sans an iPhone for a period of time using a mobile hotspot for wifi data needs? Or does it connect wirelessly ONLY to an iPhone5 or newer? Can it work independent of the iPhone and sync up health data when it is back in proximity to the iPhone?

      1. The presentation said, “Apple Watch requires iPhone. It works with iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, and 6 Plus.” It probably goes through iPhone for accessing the Internet. I think the design here is for Apple Watch to be a way to interact with your nearby iPhone remotely, and display optimize info (and other feedback) from your iPhone remotely (on a conveniently located screen).

        For some specific activities, such as running and health monitoring, it would make sense for Apple Watch to work independently to collect data, and provide that data to iPhone when it is back “in range.” I would not want to go running with a large (and expensive) iPhone strapped to my arm, just to use Apple Watch to track my run. I can use my lowly 5th gen iPod nano to track my run, and later sync the run data with my Mac, so something like that should not be an issue, between Apple Watch and iPhone. Apple’s design choices usually make sense.

  5. While those who use regular battery-powered watches will bleat that this is useless, that their watches run for years on one small battery, a mechanical watch will last at most around 52 hours; I have a forty-odd year old Yema chrono watch, gets around twenty-four hours out of one winding, and is worth around £500, so an Apple Watch is a pretty good price for what it offers. Just remember to put it on charge every night.
    It is a beautiful piece of design, though, with some very, very clever details; the slot for straps/bracelets to slide into and lock is genius, very, very clever.
    I could be very tempted, just as a watch it’s beautiful; it’s use for payments independently of the phone, particularly for travel like on the London Underground in place of an Oyster Card is very appealing.

  6. I heard nothing about the Watch camera! Oh… Sorry. That’s the Watch 2, I’m thinking about. Can’t do a Dick Tracy thing (look it up, latecomers) without a camera! As with the original iPad, there is wisdom in waiting for the second release.

  7. this is version one.
    I already like it but for the naysayers: battery life, thinness, apps etc these are all SOLVABLE with improving tech and will get worked out in time and perhaps with V.2 etc.

    What to me is more important is the Foundation, the SEAMLESS ecosystem apple is building: iOS + Yosemite + hardware = more than any of its competitors will ever be able to build.

    None of Apple’s competitors control everything, Samsung etc have to depend to Google for the OS and Best Buy for support etc, they have to sync Android devices with Windows (neither side: Samsung etc or Msft have incentive to PERFECT that. You think Msft’s Nadella’s going to share how to make Android phones work better? ) painless cloud activities unlikely. etc. Many android phones for example no fingerprints sensor for credit card, many without hardware or power to sync with a ‘Watch’ device. etc. IN short One Fracking Unholy Mess.

    (I have sneaking suspicion that Apple recent cloud ‘issues’ from hacking to servers knocked out etc have something to do with apple’s rivals who are scared shitless by the ECOSYSTEM. Billions $$$ involved. Something they cannot replicate or in Samsung’s case COPY ever).

    The Ecosystem is the Big Thing and Apple’s real innovation of Cooks’ tenure so far.

  8. Except when you forget, at which point you’re cursing the damn thing for having a poor battery when you really need it.

    So in other words, battery life will suck and you have to adapt to it. Like with the phones…

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