Apple Watch’s A5-caliber CPU, iOS ‘SkiHill,’ Retina-class display, and Cupertino’s internal battery life targets

“For the first time, people with knowledge of the Apple Watch’s development have provided us with the specific performance targets Apple wants to achieve for the Apple Watch battery,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac.

“According to our sources, Apple opted to use a relatively powerful processor and high-quality screen for the Apple Watch, both of which contribute to significant power drain,” Gurman reports. “Running a stripped-down version of iOS codenamed SkiHill, the Apple S1 chip inside the Apple Watch is surprisingly close in performance to the version of Apple’s A5 processor found inside the current-generation iPod touch, while the Retina-class color display is capable of updating at a fluid 60 frames per second.”

“Apple has also been stress-testing the Apple Watch’s battery life with pre-bundled and third-party applications,” Gurman reports. “Our sources say that Apple is targeting 2.5 hours of ‘heavy’ application use, such as processor-intensive gameplay, or 3.5 hours of standard app use. Interestingly, Apple expects to see better battery life when using the Watch’s fitness tracking software, which is targeted for nearly 4 hours of straight exercise tracking on a single charge.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Expect battery life to be used against Apple, as if they should have access to their own special laws of physics, in FUD campaigns from outclassed rivals and the anti-Apple propaganda peddlers.

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


  1. Those battery numbers are TERRIBLE! They need at least 8 hours of reasonable use, and at least 24 hours of watch use, AND a fail-safe watch only mode, so that you can at the least tell time when the battery is at minimum.

    If true, these numbers are far far too close to those of the moto 360, which is not a usable watch…. Not good.

    1. Don’t Panic! (this post is repeated below)

      Left out of this article by MDN (I think):
      “19 hours of combined active/passive use, 3 days of pure standby time, or 4 days if left in a sleeping mode. Sources, however, say that Apple will only likely achieve approximately 2-3 days in either the standby or low-power modes…”

      1. I do think that perceptions are going to be a real issue and challenge for this product. While we certainly can adjust our use case assumptions to either damn or praise what Apple is doing, the real key to all of it is that if the device is short on power because it is too much of a hassle to keep it topped up, then it is going to be left behind on the dresser.

    2. John, that’s not how long it’ll work in general, merely how long it will work when being constantly stressed. No one is going to spend 2.5 hours a day of heavy use flicking their watch with their finger. And 4 hours of constant intensive working out is more than most Americans will ever do in a single day. Those numbers are solid, and should equal a full charge throughout the day for the vast majority of the days it’s worn.

      1. Thank you for making clear what in all honesty shouldn’t really have needed explaining. Using those numbers to equate to well under a days useful battery life is misunderstanding how the device will be used but as MDN says and as its immediately been demonstrated here these figures will be, through misunderstanding, ignorance or pure malevolence used as FUD in exactly the same way misinformation was used against the latest iPhones because they too outclassed the opposition.

  2. Don’t Panic!

    Left out of this article by MDN (I think):
    “19 hours of combined active/passive use, 3 days of pure standby time, or 4 days if left in a sleeping mode. Sources, however, say that Apple will only likely achieve approximately 2-3 days in either the standby or low-power modes…”

    1. Not good enough. The active user / traveler would have to carry a charger with him wherever he goes.

      Does Apple now assume that everyone lives their entire lives within a few feet of an electrical outlet, always in WiFi coverage?

      1. Right…. Because my iPhone lasts longer than 19 hours of combined use when traveling or at home. I would like the watch to last 48 hours. I seriously doubt I will game on the watch but who knows.

      2. I don’t get what you’re saying here. Yeah, you need to take a charger with you if go somewhere. That’s the reality of all electronic mobile devices. You should have at a minimum one charger at home, one in the car, and one you can pack when you go on the road. How is this any different from a phone?


        1. yes and no. the iPhone comes with a USB cable that plugs into anything. The Apple Watch needs to be docked onto some magnetic puck, so now users are going to have to buy magnetic puck chargers for home, office, car, travel bag, …. what a pain in the butt.

          Also, we love to go camping. We hate the life of the iPhone so we have to carry battery cases to extend the life. Now it looks like one who wanted to use an Apple Watch would also need some kind of battery extender. Not cool.

          1. Try leaving city life behind when camping. Disconnect from the world. Enjoy friends, family, and the environment.

            When I travel I rarely have coverage anyways and I’m not going to spend that time with my head down playing Candy Crush and neither will my kids. (Btw. The phone stays in the car, off, with an extended battery disconnected for emergency use.)

            1. Mike is right.

              If a device isn’t fully useable for a few full days without recharge, then it’s not a very valuable tool.

              I get the purist camping thing, but the iPhone is a damn handy tool for navigation, pictures, taking notes,etc.

              Maybe the Apple watch isn’t, but it’s not even worth looking at if it’s got a wimpy battery life. Anyway, it’s poor taste to tell people that they’re doing it wrong — these are the features that Apple sells, and people want to do them on their timeframe. Apple is way too stingy on battery life on all its iOS devices.

            2. Paul, you don’t sleep for a few full days!

              What bullshit. If you can sleep 1 hour a day, you can recharge your iPhone and your iWatch.

              You do know you need an iPhone to use the iWatch, don’t you?

            3. For those of us who don’t necessary live their entire lives next to a wall plug, battery life matters to us. Congratulations to you that you can always run home to your watch charger every night.

              iPhone battery life is marginally acceptable to us too.

  3. If you get 3 hours of “active use” and 19 hours of “passive use” then nearly every waking hour of the day you’ll have a useable watch (especially if you sleep for say, more than an hour).

    Here’s the thing: If you’re the type of person who “actively” use your watch’s features for more than 3 hours a day then you’ve got enough time on your hands to charge the thing for awhile and you’re apparently not busy enough to be inconvenienced by an occasional charge in the day time.

    If you are expecting to wear it for 10-15 hours a day and then charge it while you sleep, you’ll love it. If that does not fit your lifestyle then I guess you’re one of the .01 percent of the world who maybe should stick to Quartz.

  4. Regarding: “Not good enough. The active user / traveler would have to carry a charger with him wherever he goes.”
    It will depend on the user. 19 hours of combined active/passive use is good enough for me when I am not traveling. Of course I am an old man who normally passes out early in the evening. When I travel, I carry a charger for my iPhone and iPad. If the function of the watch is good, which will probably be the case at least for me, I don’t mind carrying another charger.

    Regarding: “Does Apple now assume that everyone lives their entire lives…, always in WiFi coverage?
    I thought the Watch used the iPhone to connect to WiFi and carrier data sources. Am I wrong?

    Also remember these numbers may be made up in order to get clicks

  5. As is typical for new Apple products, we have all kinds of responses to a leaked rumor by people who don’t really know how any of the paramaters (what’s “active” or “passive”) mean, but feel free to say it’s terrible or it’ll be just fine.

    Wait a while. I’ll bet typical use will easily last from awakening to going to sleep, even late, for most people.

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