Battery life is a big issue that wearable devices must overcome, and Apple has apparently considered several different possibilities in its effort to improve battery performance on its rumored upcoming iWatch smartwatch, The New York Times reports.
The company has been testing a method to charge the iWatch wirelessly via magnetic induction, a person who was briefed on the product said. Furthermore, Apple may place a solar-charging layer on top of the iWatch’s curved screen to help out with battery charging when worn in daylight. Finally, a different effort involves charging a battery by movement – specifically, the natural swinging of the wearer’s arm while walking could generate energy for the device.
However, it’s not clear what charging method the iWatch will employ aside from regular battery charging means, or whether a combination of methods will be used to prolong the battery life of a wearable device that wouldn’t otherwise have room for a bigger battery.
With other devices, Apple has been able to extend battery life by optimizing software and by using less power-hungry chips. At the same time, Apple has patented different techniques that would help it draw more power for devices, including solar or movement charging.
Solar charging has apparently been on Apple’s mind for a long while, the Times reports, especially for mobile devices, although the technology has not been put to use yet. Tony Fadell, Apple’s former vice president whose new company has been recently acquired by Google, says that adding solar charging abilities to iPhones and iPads did not prove practical, “because mobile devices often stay inside pockets when people are outdoors, and indoor artificial light generates only a tiny amount of energy.
Recent reports revealed that Apple has already met with FDA officials to purportedly discuss the iWatch, and that Apple’s upcoming iOS 8 mobile operating system will have health as a “headline features,” with the iWatch expected to work closely with iPhones to deliver health- and fitness-related tracking features.
Read more at http://bgr.com/2014/02/03/iwatch-battery-life/
The iWatch may cost $299 when it launches later this year, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said in a note to investors on Tuesday (via CNET), a price that’s exactly what Samsung initially charged for its first-generation Galaxy Gear and similar to the Pebble’s second smartwatch, the Pebble Steel. However, the iWatch is expected to be even more popular than its competitors’ offerings and it may indeed me the “next big thing” for Apple.
“Our working assumption is that iWatch largely will be adopted as an accessory device and, therefore, sold into the existing customer base, like the iPad, rather than to new customers, like the iPod or iPhone,” Huberty wrote.
Huberty further noted that the iWatch could become a significant revenue stream for Apple, bringing in as much as $17.5 billion in the first year – at $299 each, that would mean Apple would have to sell well over 58 million units during the period. At the same time, the analyst said that due to potential component constraints, Apple may only generate from $12 billion to $14 billion in revenue in its first year of selling the iWatch.
In case such a scenario would play out, the iWatch would be more successful in its first year than the iPad’s and iPhone’s first years combined. The iPad generated $12 billion in sales in its first year, while the first-gen iPhone brought in $2.5 billion in revenue.