As Apple charges ahead to next week's big announcement, widely believed to see the debut of the iPhone 6 and potentially a new iWatch category, there is a lot of pressure mounting over Cupertino to outsmart its Android rivals. However, as beautiful as Apple's designs are, the company may have an uphill battle with charge, literally. For the iWatch to be successful, it may not be about features, but rather a smooth user experience, and one not confined by battery life. Can Apple pull off software optimizations to bring better battery life and gain consumer acceptance into this nascent market of wearable computing?
According to journalist Jessica Lessin for The Information, "the appeal of the world's most highly anticipated wearable computer is going to come down to something a lot more mundane: battery life."
Lessin does have a point: even a beautiful smartwatch cannot offer utility if the battery is drained after a few hours resting on one's wrists, at which point the gadget becomes more akin to a dumb bracelet than a smart watch.
"The one thing that can destroy engagement like nothing else is battery life," Lessin said. "You can't use it if it is inert."
The problem with watches is perhaps its design. Due to space constraint, the need for a bright screen (in the case of the competing Android Wear platform, these displays are said to be "always on"), and the ability to constantly feed user information and communicate with the phone, battery will be stretched thin. Add to that, watches aren't big devices to begin with and so Apple cannot cram an overly capacious juice pack to start with.
Even on larger devices, like the iPhone, Apple rivals BlackBerry and Samsung has taken to ad campaigns to mock iPhone users for being "wall-huggers" due to the perceived less than stellar battery life on the power-hungry smartphone.
Though despite taming expectations for the new iWatch, Lessin says that Apple could leverage new technologies and innovations that it had acquired recently. The company's purchase of LuxVue could help Apple create low powered displays while Passif could help the iWatch reduce battery drain when it's talking to the iPhone. Though these technologies may be available to Apple, it's unclear if they'll be ready for the iWatch launch to make a meaningful impact on preserving battery life.
Apple's rivals in the Android camp already have some smartwatches on offer. Samsung's Gear Live and LG's G Watch have battery life that span a few days at best while the recently available Moto 360, which you can read the review on Android Central, is rated for just a day of battery life despite having innovations like screen sensing and built-in Qi wireless charging technology.
Do you think battery life will be the Achilles' heel of the iWatch? And more importantly, what do you think should be the acceptable battery life for a wrist-adorned gadget?
Source: The Information