Apple Testing Charging Techniques for its Smart Watch
February 3, 2014 11:34 AM
comment(s) - last by
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
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RE: It just baffles the mind....
2/3/2014 3:12:09 PM
I'm actually annoyed about the general concept.
However, specifically regarding the patent you linked (I took a quick look), similar systems have existed prior to that patent being filed, and, on top of that, the concept is extremely obvious to anyone with even a passing understanding of electrical generation or electric motors. Fixed magnets and wire coils - honestly, this stuff pre-dates the 20th century, much less 2009.
The "on X" here is "on printed circuit boards" rather than "on mobile", but it's the same category of patenting obvious stuff, IMO. This probably would have been patented in the 1960's if the "patent everything" mindset had been around at that point.
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