Apple Watch Battery Life Drains Expectations

January 26, 2015 •


Last week, many details leaked about Apple Watch functionality. Through a beta version of iOS 8.2, a companion application details many of the intimate settings between iPhone and Apple Watch. Home screen modification, watch face details, notification settings, and goal completion information will be managed through iPhone. These details were not overly apparent in the initial unveiling of Apple’s new flagship device. Functionality is much more clear, but operability remains to be seen. Specifically, how long will Apple Watch operate without a charge.

In an interview last fall, Tim Cook admitted in an aside, people will love using Apple Watch so much, it will require a daily charge. While the comment seems tongue-in-cheek, many armchair analysts drew concerns. Adding further suspicion, Apple neglected to include any information about the device during the launch.

On Thursday, January 22, 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, released interesting information from sources familiar with the matter, indicating the Apple Watch battery may not even last a day. The same Mark Gurman that provided the full Apple Watch companion app breakdown from last week. According to the report, Apple Watch will include a powerful processor coupled with a high performance screen, both of which cause significant battery drain. Allegedly, the newly designed Apple S1 chip will perform in ranges comparable to Apple’s A5 processor. To offer some perspective, the A5 powers the current generation Apple TV, iPad mini, iPad 2, and iPhone 4s.

Apple Watch S1

The powerful S1 will allow Apple Watch high performance, but will take a chunk of run time away from the onboard battery. Quoting sources, Gurman explains the Apple watch is currently offering a mere 2.5 hours of “heavy” application usage, 3.5 hours of standard application activity, and 4 hours of exercise monitoring. Keep in mind, that does not mean a total of 10 hours. The ratings are based on 100% to complete drainage, by activity type. However, one only expects between 4 and 5 hours of actual usage time on an iPhone 5s or earlier. An Apple Watch battery is significantly smaller in size but offers at least have the life of an iPhone battery.

Apple Watch Carging

With mixed usage and mere glances during the day, the overall wear time will be much longer than stress tests project. One power saving feature turns the Apple Watch screen off when not rotated in a viewable position. Consequently, raising the arm activates the screen, lowering turns it off. Apple is said to be hoping for a mixed usage time of 19 operable hours, but sources claim that may be unattainable in generation one.

Recharging will be a daily occurrence, even for light usage. A new MagSafe, Apple’s proprietary charging solution, will be rolled into Apple Watch. A magnetic charging puck will inductively charge the device with our a ported connection. Portless charging prevents an actual plug requirement and offers a more refined finish.

No change is made in the release rumor of March 2015. Look for more information to become available throughout February. The launch date may even be revealed in another media event. If so, expect invitations to ship in very early March.