Apple Watch is fascinating. It is the IoT (Internet Of Things) done the Apple way. More than that, the Apple Watch is the future of Apple and computing. In an interesting package.
Update: Almost 2 months later after the writing of this post, Apple confirms it. The Apple Watch battery is replaceable. According to TechCrunch, the Apple Watch battery will last for about 3 years. Exactly as i predicted and wrote here.
The iPhone Is The Mainframe. Apple Watch Is The Thin Client
As launch date is approaching we get to know more about the Apple Watch. One thing is really interesting so far. Apple Watch will rely heavily on iPhone for running apps. Apps will run on the iPhone 6 and information will pass to Apple Watch for display. Think of it like this. The iPhone is the mainframe and Apple Watch is the thin client.
New iPhones come out every year. They are faster and more capable than ever. Upgrading to a new iPhone makes the Apple Watch faster, more capable too. This probably means that Apple Watch upgrades will not happen annually. Buy a new iPhone every year and instantly get a better Apple Watch experience.
Which brings us to the interesting part. Part of that experience has to with battery life. Tim Cook said the battery of the Apple Watch will last about a day. That’s because people will love using it so much they will have to charge it every night.
Charging a battery every day for more than a year equals disaster. Remember, buy a new iPhone every year to improve your Apple Watch experience.
Unfortunately, modern batteries don’t stay in perfect condition after 10-12 months of daily charging. Not to mention all shorts of battery abuse and crimes we all commit.
Apple has three options to deal with this situation. Ignore issues arise due to poor battery performance after a year of use of the Apple Watch. Upgrade the Apple Watch or replace its battery every 12 months or so. Use a better battery for its first wearable device.
The first option is not likely to happen. Although Apple has a history of ignoring problems until they fix them. Judging from what we currently know, a new Apple Watch every year is not part of the plan either. Replacing the battery after 12 months is an option but not Apple-ish at all. That leaves only one choice. Use of an improved kind of battery that will perform better in the long run.
All Apple products use lithium-ion batteries
“The capacity of any type of battery will diminish after a certain amount of recharging. With lithium-ion batteries, the capacity diminishes slightly with each complete charge cycle. Apple lithium-ion batteries are designed to hold at least 80% of their original capacity for a high number of charge cycles, which varies depending on the product”. -source Apple
Lithium-ion battery technology currently supports between 400 and 1200 recharge cycles. A recharge cycle for Lithium-ion batteries is a bit trickier than you might think. According to Apple you can:
“Charge your Apple lithium-ion battery whenever you want. There’s no need to let it discharge 100% before recharging. Apple lithium-ion batteries work in charge cycles. You complete one charge cycle when you’ve used (discharged) an amount that equals 100% of your battery’s capacity — but not necessarily all from one charge. For instance. You might use 75% of your battery’s capacity one day, then recharge it fully overnight. If you use 25% the next day, you will have discharged a total of 100%, and the two days will add up to one charge cycle. It could take several days to complete a cycle.”
Apple Watch might include a Lithium-ion battery with the highest recharge cycles possible. Allowing years of charging with optimal performance. Before the battery degrades to at least 80% of its original capacity. Assuming that by the time Apple Watch is charging its battery will be less than 10%.
The only viable option is a Lithium-ion battery with approximately 1000 recharge cycles.
iFixit Will Soon Reveal Apple Watch Battery Secret
With this kind of battery, Apple Watch will perform great for almost 2.5 years. Giving Apple enough time to iterate and users to enjoy the first Apple wearable. 1000 recharge cycles / 365 days = 2.7 years. More than enough even when battery performance degrades to 80% of its capacity.
We will have to wait until iFixit performs one of its great reviews.
Will the Apple Watch be using a Lithium-ion battery with high number or recharge cycles? Is Lithium-ion batteries with high number of recharge cycles production big enough to meet Apple volume? Don’t forget Apple Watch comes in two sizes. Is this why the Apple Watch is not available in the market yet?
Most importantly. If the Apple Watch ships with this kind of battery, will the iPhone 6S ship with a battery like this?