Woe be to anyone actually planning to use an Apple Watch.
According to sources cited by Apple blog 9to5Mac, the still-unreleased iOS smartwatch’s battery life lasts only for a couple hours of heavy use.
See also: What You Can Do With The Apple Watch
Standby time looks better; it can hang on for up to 2 or 3 days. But that presumes you don’t actually use anything that makes the gadget “smart.”
A Dismal Power Play
Apple never willingly discloses the battery capacity of its mobile devices. Typically, those specifications and more come to light after an Apple product launches and gets autopsied—er, a proper teardown—by the tech community.
So it’s no surprise that the company didn’t specify details about its upcoming smartwatch’s power cell. At its press conference last year, the only thing the company would say was that it would require nightly charging.
The latest report seems to dig in a bit more. Its unnamed sources, whose relationship to Apple (if any) was not disclosed, said the company tested the device in various scenarios. Through steady standard app use, the device lasted up to 3.5 hours. Intensive gameplay hammered the battery more, yielding 2.5 hours of life. Ultimately, the device’s energy-swilling processor and beautiful, but power-hungry display are some of the key reasons for the drain.
Apple supposedly thinks fitness-tracking features could somehow yield better battery life. As illogical as that sounds, the company supposedly targets almost 4 straight hours of exercise tracking.
A Gadget That Dies Before Lunch?
Battery life for wearables is a fundamental problem. The 5-to-7 day battery life of Pebble—with its e-paper, non-touchscreen—sits on one end of the spectrum, while rivals like Android Wear’s growing army of wrist devices sat on the other, thanks to limited life typically in the 1-to-2 day range. But if there’s any truth to this report about the Apple Watch and its scant few hours of functionality under actual use, that could represent a new low for smartwatches.
Fast-charging could help ease the situation. The site also reports that Apple could be in the throes of refining its MagSafe charging connection to allow for speedier juice-ups.
Although tech circles seem to be hot on wrist gadgets, the public at large hasn’t quite made them a mainstream trend yet. Previously, the Apple Watch looked like it could’ve gone a long way toward sparking consumer demand. Now, it’s unclear if customers, particularly those used to seemingly endless battery life from traditional watches, will embrace a wearable that could die before lunchtime.
The Apple Watch is expected to launch some time around the end of March.
Photo courtesy of Apple