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Why a one-day battery isn't a deal-breaker for Apple Watch

Michael Simon | Feb. 5, 2015
When it comes to battery life, we have certain expectations. With our iPhones, we want to make it through the day. On our MacBooks we need enough to finish whatever project we're working on. And when it comes to our iPads, we just want to advance through one more day of Papers, Please or squeeze in another chapter of The Girl on the Train before turning out the lights.

When it comes to battery life, we have certain expectations. With our iPhones, we want to make it through the day. On our MacBooks we need enough to finish whatever project we're working on. And when it comes to our iPads, we just want to advance through one more day of Papers, Please or squeeze in another chapter of The Girl on the Train before turning out the lights.

So naturally, it's one of the biggest questions we have about Apple Watch. We generally don't give too much thought about battery life when we're buying a watch, but with Bluetooth, a retina display, and a custom heart rate sensor, Apple Watch is clearly going to need some serious power. We're not talking about a 321-size silver oxide platter here. With so much technology packed into such a small space, it's pretty obvious that it's not going to last as long as a Casio G-Shock.

In early interviews, Tim Cook suggested that Apple Watch would need to be charged once a day. A recent 9to5Mac report seems to confirm that suggestion, claiming battery life of "roughly 2.5 to 4 hours of active application use versus 19 hours of combined active/passive use, 3 days of pure standby time, or 4 days if left in a sleeping mode."

Of course, it would be nice if we could go a week without having to worry about charging our Apple Watch, but if the rumors of a single-day battery life are true, it's not the deal-breaker you might think it is.

Just a passing Glance

We've tested plenty of smartwatches ever since Pebble's Kickstarter introduced us to the concept of the connected wearable, but what we've seen from the likes of Samsung, Motorola, and LG don't measure up to even the bits Tim Cook has elected to show us. Apple's vision for Apple Watch is a grandiose one, one much bigger than pushing notifications to your wrist. Apple is calling it its most personal device yet, but it's not just the numerous customizable faces that give it its unique identity.

Apple Watch is about more than collecting the dozens of things we casually reach for our iPhones to do — check a basketball score, pay for groceries, skip to the next track, or read a message — and putting them within wrist's reach. Apple isn't changing the relationship we have with our watches. Rather, it's embracing the traditionalism of the classic wristwatch to actually limit the time we spend with our iPhones and use technology to connect us to the world around us.

Apple isn't out to reinvent the watch as it did with the phone or the portable music player. I spend hours more each day with my iPhone than I ever did with my Motorola RAZR, but I don't expect to use my Apple Watch all that much more than a normal wristwatch. The vast majority of the time it's on my wrist I suspect the screen will be in standby mode, and I can't foresee a day outside of the honeymoon period when I will measure my actual usage in hours.

 

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