Apple Testing Charging Techniques for its Smart Watch
February 3, 2014 11:34 AM
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Techniques include magnetic induction and solar
Silicon Valley may be moving beyond smartphones and tablets and
on to smart watches
as the latest trend, but one problem still remains no matter the device: battery power.
The New York Times
, building batteries and new charging methods that can power a device longer is all the rage in Silicon Valley, and Apple is one of the major companies trying to pioneer this particular technology.
article said Apple is particularly focusing its battery research efforts on its upcoming smart watch, where it's currently testing a few different methods. For instance, a magnetic induction technique has been in the works, which is similar to what Nokia has used for its smartphones. In that case, a magnetic field creates voltage to power the phone when it is placed on a charging plate.
Solar charging is another method being looked at by Apple, as the tech giant posted a job listing last year seeking engineers with experience in the solar power industry to work on mobile devices. This would place a solar-charging layer into the screen, which would capture sunlight as it's worn during the day.
This idea goes hand-in-hand with rumors that Apple's smart watch will have both a curved display and a thin, curved battery to suit that flexible solar layer. The idea is that more sunlight can be captured for charging if the screen is curved.
Apple was awarded a patent for a flexible battery that would suit a device display last July.
Yet another method being tested at the Cupertino giant is charging via movement. This would be especially beneficial for a smart watch, which swings on a person's wrist through the day. In 2009, Apple filed a patent for such charging technology.
Apple's watch was supposed to be released
late last year
, but reports say battery life is a major reason for the delay.
Other tech companies, like Microsoft, have discussed releasing smart watches as well, but we haven't seen anything recently. But Samsung announced its Android-powered
Galaxy Gear smart watch
in September 2013, which was released alongside the Galaxy Note 3 for $299.
The Galaxy Gear features a diminutive 315 mAh battery and will only last a day on a charge. Lets see if Apple can do any better.
The New York Times
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: It just baffles the mind....
2/3/2014 2:21:44 PM
"I stopped using a watch when I got my first pager. To this day, any other electronic device I carry has the time, so a watch has become superfluous."
Perhaps it is superfluous to you, but not to everyone. Using an electronic gadget (phone, pager, tablet, etc) as a timepiece is impractical in many situations.
1. Gadget requires daily charging or it stops working. Watch goes for many years at a time.
2. Gadget requires a free hand to use it. You have to pick up the device, and usually you also have to press a button to activate the screen. Watch requires only a casual glance at the wrist.
3. Gadget is not allowed in courthouse or many government facilities, especially if its got a built-in camera as most do. If you find yourself in these places often, a watch is the only option.
4. Gadget is fragile. Gadget breaks when you drop it, cannot tolerate high heat or extreme cold, is not waterproof, and usually is hard to see in direct sunlight. If you are outdoorsy person, or you spend a lot of time in extreme environments for work, watch is the only practical option.
5. Gadget may require technical expertise to operate or maintain. If your Gadget OS gets a virus or malware, needs a software update, needs reconfiguration, etc. A watch is not susceptible to these problems.
6. Loss or theft is a risk with the gadget. iPhones, Androids, etc. are all high theft items. You have to be careful not to leave it laying around in public, or accidentally forget it on the subway or in a taxi cab, or even just forget it at home when you go out. An inexpensive watch on your wrist is not a theft target and is difficult to lose.
Moral of the story is to use whatever works best for you, but be aware that your solution may be less than ideal, or even impossible, for others.
RE: It just baffles the mind....
2/3/2014 2:58:18 PM
Yup, I use my watch only when on my bike or at the gym. But its still the most convenient for the two uses.
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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