Tim Cook of Apple Watch battery life: ‘You’ll want to charge them every night’

“Apple had plenty to brag about at its event earlier this week. Bigger iPhones. Sharper screens. Faster speeds. A shiny new watch,” Brian X. Chen reports for The New York Times. “So it was particularly noticeable when Apple left out an important detail for the Apple Watch: the battery life.

“I couldn’t resist asking Timothy D. Cook this question when we met after Apple’s event on Tuesday: ‘So why did you skip over the watch’s battery life?'” Chen reports. “Mr. Cook’s response was swift: ‘I don’t think we skipped over it. I addressed it in the presentation myself. We think that based on our experience of wearing these that the usage of them will be really significant throughout the day. So we think you’ll want to charge them every night, similar to what a lot of people do with their phone.'”

Chen reports, “Mr. Cook went on to explain that this was why Apple designed a simple power-charging solution, based on magnetic induction technology.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on Tuesday:

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.

If fact, Yahoo Tech’s David Pogue reports, the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition “comes in a gorgeous jewelry box — which doubles as a charger. The back of the box has a Lightning connector, and the inside of the box has the watch’s magnetic round charger pad, standing vertically. So as you retire each night, you can just lay your gold watch into its case and let it charge.”


    1. Some companies establish clear design requirements early in the process, and they let their prospective customers know exactly what performance they can expect. In fact, some companies guarantee performance years ahead of product release so that their customers can plan their hardware investments accordingly. Those companies offer pro-level products.

      By not releasing any information publicly, Apple is just acting like a typical consumer-oriented company, which is disappointing. Cook has turned his back on the Mac and is spending all his effort on iOS ecosystem.

  1. I have no issues with nightly charging. I am used to with my iPhone.

    Of course, in the future, Apple Watch should:
    1) last more than one day;
    2) become thinner — now they are pretty thick, about 14 mm (though good Swiss watches are also thick often times).

    1. Agreed on all counts. I’ll probably skip the first generation just because I’m not interested in the added bulk and it’s not a must-have for me. (Then again, I may change my tune in early 2015.)

      But charging it every night isn’t as big a deal as everyone’s making it out to be. If you charge your phone nightly, you shouldn’t have a problem charging this unless you were hoping to use it for sleep tracking. Most watch-wearing people take their watch off at night, so it’s not like it’s a huge imposition.

      But I also wonder how long it will take to charge it, meaning maybe you can charge it for a short while before bed, then wear it while you sleep. Who knows? We’ll have to wait for the finished product to come out.

      1. I wonder how long it’ll take to fully charge. If it’s only an hour or two, then you could use it as a sleep monitor. It can also be charged while driving and possibly at work as well. My iPhone charges in a little over an hour using the higher amperage charger I use with my iPad.

        1. Such rapid charging shortens the life of the battery. It helps in a pinch to have that iPad charger so that you can quickly refuel when you’re pressed for time, but that comes at a price. Avoid charging your iPhone with anything other than the iPhone charger, if you want to squeeze the most out of that battery. Of course, if you plan on replacing the phone every year, then ignore this advice. The battery will certainly last more than a year, and after that, it will become the other guy’s problem…

      2. I’m with you doc… I’m going to try to wait until it’s thinner. I get the feeling I’ll cave in once I actually hold one in my hands though, even at the current thickness they look great. I’d love one light and thin enough to take swimming/surfing (and waterproof, obv.) If the charging is anywhere near the speed of iPhone charging, it will be a non issue.

  2. Fuel cells can only come to notebooks since it is mechanically infeasible to make them small enough for watches/phones.

    So the only prospect for longer battery in small devices are only chemical advances. Those are countless in laboratories, but none brought to mass production yet.

    1. That’s easy, buy a sleep number bed with sleep I Q and wear no device, you’ll have your heart rate breathing rate quality of sleep and be able to view from any apple device with 2 yrs rolling stats – and it suggests how to get a better nights sleep. Sweet. I love mine…

  3. The Apple Watch is a V1 product. Imagine what it will be like in five years time.

    One thing I don’t see addressed in the current commentary: I know no price has been announced for the 18-carat gold Edition but I expect this to be four figures. Consider how fast consumer electronics evolve: who will drop four figures on a product whose internals will be outdated in a few years despite software updates?

    Is is possible that Apple have already seen this and have a devised a simple in-store mechanism to swap out those internals?


    1. Maybe swap the whole watch? If you want the watch to get thinner and be round instead of square and include more sensors, you’ll want to swap more than just the internals. 🙂

    2. I don’t think it will be 4 figures. They say 18kt gold but enhanced for hardness. Pure 18kt gold is soft, so obviously they added some alloy, which in turn would decrease the value of the gold. I’m thinking $549-749 range for these. Hopefully, they will be $349, 449, 549 and for the larger one $399,499,599.

        1. Dude, I meant pure 18kt gold not pure gold (24kt) and 18kt gold is soft enough to bend with your hands. Anyhoo…I’m sure they just more or less plated the 18kt gold over the alloy, or mixed in enough to make it quite stinger. Maybe someday we will know for sure.

  4. Charging every night is not the issue. The real question is how many hours will the battery last (assuming moderate to heavy use). If we can get something like 14 hours or more out of it then that’s great. I typically leave the house at 7 AM and am back by after 7 PM. The last thing I want is to have my watch battery die on me in the middle of my day and I certainly do not want to be taking it off my wrist to charge while I’m at work. A 14+ hour battery life will get me through my day. If it is 8-10 hours, it renders the watch unusable from my point of view.

    – HCE

    1. It really needs to last 20 hrs for those that sleep only 4 hrs. And it need to fully charge in those 4 hours.

      And then. there are those that work 32 hr shifts. I’ve done that a couple times.

    2. One thing they pointed out in the presentation is that when you’re not actually holding it up to use it, the Apple Watch goes dark, essentially asleep unless you have a process set to run. Talking about it lasting 14 hours comes off sounding as if you’re going to be holding it up to your eyes for 14 hours. You’re not. I expect that when it’s in sleep mode, it will last significantly longer than 24 hours.

      Battery technology remains remarkably primitive in our modern era. But tiny batteries can do remarkable things these days with our incredibly low voltage, highly efficient modern electronics.

    1. It seems obvious that you didn’t study any form of engineering or physics or even high school science. Please don’t post such drivel without first knowing what you are writing about.

      Too cool for school?

      1. OH MY GOD!!! What a crime! How dare you not have studied engineering or physics, coolfactor!!!!

        Physics, Please don’t post personally insulting drivel – whatever educational background someone may or may not have.

        1. “personally insulting drivel” isn’t cool, but then even my sophomore in high school know that slapping a magnet on the back of something doesn’t charge it. That’s not how MagSafe charging works.

  5. Apple Watch battery Life and obsolescence…

    The Swiss watch industry also manufactures clocks.

    …consider the fact that 60 million Atmos clocks together would consume no more energy than a weak 15 watt electric light bulb
    …it operates virtually without any wear. It is therefore distinguished by its service life which theoretically can be as long as 600 years

    A virtually perpetual movement

    Leonardo da Vinci had already demonstrated that perpetual motion was not feasible if only because of the laws of physics. But it would have taken more to discourage the researchers.These researchers included the Neuchâtel engineer Jean-Léon Reutter who, in 1928, designed a completely revolutionary clock drawing its power from variations in the ambient temperature. It took yet a few more years of research by our watchmaking firm to transpose this idea into technical reality and patent it.The result came astoundingly close to perpetual motion : the Atmos clock was born.
    Its principle is amazingly simple. In a hermetically closed capsule is a gaseous mixture which expands when the temperature rises and contracts when it falls. Connected to the driving spring, the capsule swells like the bellows of an accordion and winds the clock movement up constantly. Between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius, a temperature fluctuation of a single degree is enough to ensure an operating autonomy of about two days.
    The Atmos clock is designed so that no excessive resistance opposes this minimum power.The Atmos balance wheel oscillates slowly, its lung breathing in perfect harmony with temperaturevariationsanditsheartbeatingquietlytwicea minute,i.e. 60 times less quickly than that of a traditional clock, 240 times less quickly than a wristwatch movement and 1,966,000 times less quickly than a quartz watch movement. To get an idea of the delicacy of this minute energy transfer, consider the fact that 60 million Atmos clocks together would consume no more energy than a weak 15 watt electric light bulb.
    All the components of the Atmos clock are incredibly precise and dependable, so that it operates virtually without any wear. It is therefore distinguished by its long service life which theoretically can be as long as 600 years. Because of the current state of air pollution, however, regular checking and service are recommended.
    The Atmos clock reconciles lovers of technical performance and those for whom sobriety of shape or feats of craftsmanship are the predominant factors. In this respect, nothing has changed. No Atmos clock can escape the five weeks of checking and final adjustments which complete the work of the Jaeger-LeCoultre master-watchmakers.
    A unique gem of horological technology, the Atmos clock is a timekeeper of distinction for Heads of State and numerous sovereigns, because in this country unique in the world for the perfection of its watches, it is a tradition to offer guests of honour this Swiss horological masterpiece.This has been the case for decades now, and the eminent recipients include J.F. Kennedy,Winston Churchill,General de Gaulle and Charlie Chaplin.

    From Jaeger-LeCoultre user manual

    1. thats interesting but it’s a CLOCK

      which rests on a TABLE etc, not a tiny wrist watch

      IF i connect a cheap seiko watch to a small SOLAR PANEL (which you can get for $50) and rest it on a TABLE it will use not just a little energy like the ATMOS but ZERO, probably in fact generate MORE energy than it uses….

      Write about a SMARTWATCH that rests on a WRIST and needs no recharging and then it’ll be more relevant to the discussion here.

  6. The charging method is spot on (inductive). And I am not surprised, nor should anybody else be about having to charge every night. MDN is right, there is no magic battery out there….yet. However, if full lithium becomes a reality, that will change.

      1. The eco-drive isn’t a battery, although it uses one to store power for the clock drive it runs.

        And the eco-drive only works well enough for a mechanism that operates on extremely small current draw.

        I like the mechanism, but it’s not suited for anything close to the Apple Watch internals.

  7. NFC allows for wireless charging and power sharing from other NFC devices. So, if you watch is running low, you should be able to draw a charge from your NFC equipped iPhone or iPad.

    I anticipate plenty of night stand contraptions that people place their change, wallet, Apple devices to have NFC charging built in. Personally I use a beautiful leather change holder that I can bend the sides up. It flattens out so you can travel with it. I will be the first one in line to buy a new one that plugs in and allows for NFC charging for anything I place in it like my iPhone or Apple Watch.

    1. Remember all those science and physics classes you skived off in high school? If you paid attention, you might know how ignorant you appear to be. Do you know the useful range of RF charging? How about the amount of power that can be transmitted? Are you suggesting that the iPad or iPhone be placed with its antenna touching the Watch? How long do you think it would have to be there to give it a meaningful charge? Consider going back to school and learning a tiny little bit about physics and electronics.

      1. Science – consider putting your diapers back on and moving in with Mommy and Daddy. Maybe as they help you grow up again, they can do a better job of talking politely to other people and not being a snippy, rude jerk.

      2. Science, or should I call you Dick? You must be a load of fun at parties.

        My point was “if” your watch is running low, NFC will allow you to communicate and finish tasks by using your iPhone or other NFC devices which is totally available today.

        I suppose I wasn’t clear on my second paragraph when I used the term “NFC” when I should have used “wireless charging”. There are plenty of “wireless charging” devices out there now you can set things in or on to charge them and it doesn’t require a magnetic plug.

        Maybe you should consider going back to charm school…..Dick.

  8. Why doesn’t the Apple Watch have a permanent battery that never needs to be recharged?

    All this talk about Apple Watches brought to mind that I have a very nice watch in a drawer. I took it to a jewelry store nearby that replaced the battery, cleaned it, and depressurized it while I waited.

    While I was waiting, I looked through a Citizen watch catalog. Nearly of their watches have a permanent battery that is recharged by ambient light on the dial. Not only is it enough to move the mechanical pieces, it’s also enough to power a Bluetooth interface with an iPhone.

    So why didn’t Apple do that?

    1. Ken, nice thought, but an Apple Watch is going to need a whole heck of a lot more power to run – we’re not talking about keeping a simple mechanism running. We’re talking advanced microprocessors here.

      1. Maybe you are right, but I don’t think that’s the main consideration. Apple would have to license the technology from Citizen then engineer it into the watch. Maybe this will be a feature of Apple Watch 2.

  9. I think another thing that people hope to use this for is sleep monitoring. I can imagine a future iteration with more sensors that can provide feedback on quality of sleep. Charging it every night would prohibit that use case.

  10. Translation of Tim Cook: Yes, battery life is shit but we don’t like to say negative things about our kit. But hey, spend all that money and it will make you feel better for a while.

    Better get a Fitbit, saves money and does more whilst you can leave your smartphone to do the rest.

        1. With the Apple Watch i will be able to read notifications without having to take my phone out of my pocket all the dam time, as well as the health monitoring functions which i will find very useful. As for the money i spend my money on what the hell i want its no business of yours.

  11. When you watch the animation of the watchband sliding out, you see the lock button and two possible contacts. Ya gotta wonder if they are going to offer a battery band?

    Or someone else will.

  12. >>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.<<

    Wow…what planet are you on? I never take my roles off, not when I sleep, not when I shower, not when I swim.

    I'm sure I'll buy and apple watch (I know own a garmin sports watch to wear when I run) but I don't think this version will real replace a rolex (or timex or seico). I'll be buying the cheapest apple watch because it won't be long at all before it's obsolete…and that's a good thing.

  13. Apple should take a look at the Galaxy Gear S. It is said to have a two day battery life with more features to power, however of course this has not been tested yet. However, it has also announced it will come with a charger that has its own built in power, enough to give the watch a full recharge without having to be near a wall socket. Seems like a innovative idea to me.

  14. Here is where Apple introduces Sleep. You will want to charge it everyday. It will track your sleep and gently wake you with nap-tec feedback. Holographic sheep jumping from your wrist and gentle rainstorm sounds are just a couple features. Available 20?? Simply pop it on the induction charger your watch was on last night. Comes with glow in the dark bands.

  15. Right, Atmos is a clock that rests on a TABLE etc., not a tiny wrist watch.

    Apple watch is a tiny wrist watch that we wear at our wrist 12 hours a day, and a tiny clock that rests on our nightstand during 12 hours while we are sleeping.

    Maybe the thickness of the Apple Watch would have allowed to incorporate the mechanism of an automatic wrist watch modified to be able to fill a small battery, as developed by Seiko.

    The SMARTWATCH (Apple Watch Sport Edition) that can rest on a WRIST and needs no recharging can be developed by ingenious engineers.


  16. Chen was caught in a lie.
    Tim Cook did talk about the battery lasting all day despite how much they anticipate you will be using it. And he did talk about charging it each night. I heard it and so did everyone else.

    Lying did make a catchy headline.

  17. As long as this thing lasts a whole day, I’m fine with that. These morons act as if batteries should last weeks or months. It’s totally ignorant. When I got my first iPhone, I played with it constantly. I didn’t bitch and moan about the battery going down in a matter of a few hours. I just plugged it into the power adapter, and went right on playing with it. Since iPhones are no longer a new thing to me, my iPhone will last all day. I expect that a lot of people will play around with their new Apple Watch so much that they think that the battery doesn’t last long. It’s all about how you use your devices. I think that tech reports are determined to find something negative in everything Apple makes just so that they can post articles.

  18. I have a self winding and also a battery watch both don’t need any charging for years…apple needs to make a watch that you don’t have to charge every day…I don’t need another thing to charge

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