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Report claims Apple is setting low expectations for iWatch battery life



A new report from The Information claims sources that have spoke with Apple employees say the company is setting low expectations for its upcoming wearable’s battery life. Little details have leaked out regarding specific specs or the design of the device, but today’s report from The Information claims battery life could be one area the iWatch disappoints:

“People who have talked to Apple about the watch said that Apple employees have set low expectations,” Lessin wrote

While there haven’t been any parts leaks to give us a clue at what design Apple plans for the iWatch, we have heard several reports mention wireless charging as something planned for the device. That could come in handy if Apple plans to implement sleep tracking features considering today’s report on less than impressive battery life. Battery life has been one of the biggest complaints among reviewers for the current crop of Android Wear devices hitting the market that often don’t provide the full day’s battery life companies claim. 


The latest reports from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal claimed Apple’s yet to be announced wearable will feature a flexible display panel (also something others reported previously), while they also claimed the wearable will feature an NFC chip for pairing and payments alongside the iPhone 6. Recent reports from often reliable KGI analysts shared some specs expected for iWatch including 1.3 and 1.5-inch display options, 512MB RAM, and 8 GB of storage.

As for other iWatch features you can expect, 9to5Mac has reported extensively on the health and fitness features Apple plans for iOS 8 and iWatch.

Apple is expected to introduce its new wearable during its September 9 event next week, while a launch for the product won’t likely happen until next year.

(via BI)

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  1. herb02135go - 9 years ago

    So it will track your sleep then serve as an alarm clock that wakes you up so you can recharge its

    • Like Samsung’s watches (made only because they wanted to be first they the copycats heard Apple is working on something like that) have good battery life. Ha ha :D Classic herbie, his “wise” comments. Also these articles from sources that just don’t know what to write about to bring attention. But no one know, maybe you already saw iWatch so you can make this statement..

      • thejuanald - 9 years ago

        The Samsung Gear 2 has a 2-3 day life if you use it often for more than just a watch and a 6 day life if you use it mostly just as a watch, according to nearly every review I’ve seen.

        While that’s better than these expectations, it’s still really poor.

      • standardpull - 9 years ago

        The Samsung watch, if you use it as only a watch gives you about 4 days of battery life if you disable all the features. The Apple watch will give you less than a day.

      • o0smoothies0o - 9 years ago

        @standard what kind of idiot would blow hundreds of dollars on a smartwatch just to immediately turn off all of the features so they can get far worse battery life than a regular watch?

      • Miroslav: Are you aware that even before the rumour that Apple where creating a smartwatch you could actually already buy several brands of smartwatch? Your a prime example of the type of person which gives some Apple users a bad name: Apple didn’t invent the smart watch, they didn’t invent the smart phone, they didn’t invent the PC, they didn’t invent the MP3 player, they didn’t invent the tablet.

        Stop rewriting history and enjoy what they release for what it is.

    • xbepax4224 - 9 years ago

      It’d be really cool if it had an alarm clock though!

      • xprmntr - 9 years ago

        I wanna watch videos on it

  2. Controlled anti-leak to set expectations low so that when they come out with a moderate-but-not-great 3-4 days of battery life, everybody is stoked for it?

    • j0hnf23 - 9 years ago

      hopefully that’s true. they did it when the ipad launched too, said it will be starting at $ 1,000.00 so they could surprise us with a lower price.

    • degraevesofie - 9 years ago

      I’m not sure 3-4 days is all *that* better than one day (assuming it’s a fairly reliable “one day”): Either way, recharging will be a regular chore. Although unfortunate, it wouldn’t be a deal breaker. However, if it’s much less than 24 hours (e.g., the Moto 360’s 12 hours), then the device becomes much less practical.

      • PMZanetti - 9 years ago

        “I’m not sure 3-4 days is all *that* better than one day”

        Someone needs to go back to school.

  3. When these guys make such reports, I should make one too. I had a dream about iWatch the other week and it was kinda interesting. I saw there 3 designs of watches and couldn’t believe that.

    • If anyone is interested to hear more, I can talk more about my dream :D

    • taylore90 - 9 years ago

      I love a good story! But seriously. These “leaks” have been old for months now. Your dreams about the iWatch are just as credible as these “reports”. And frankly, your dream is much more entertaining than these “reports”.

      • Hah, thank you :D Well, my dream was pretty funny and happily, when I saw the iWatch in that dream, I was happy it was only a dream because it was looking like Apple went crazy or something. In that dream, I was feeling like ashamed because I knew all people who know I love Apple will tell me ‘Have you see their iWatch? (and jiggle)’.

        My dream started in front of a big presentation building. I never saw that building live, or building like that. I don’t know how my brain made that up.

        Then I remember sitting in the presentation room in like 4th to 5th row. Tim Cook came to the stage and everyone was like yaaay, he is here. All of a sudden, he started to have a few dance moves. In that moment I was thinking like, what? And wanted to dance too :D

        Then the presentation started and I remember seeing iWatch – 3 models. First was a wrist watch (black colour) with a rounded touch screen. Second was like a necklace that connects to your iPhone. That one had no screen and was like 1 inch wide, 2 inches tall.

        And the third one, I’m not even able to describe it, just paint it or something. It was made of white rubber, it went from your wrist to elbow (almost) and in the middle it had a circle something and there was a colour around that. The structure of that thing seemed like a cobweb.

        Well, this was the dream I had. One of the crazy ones :D

    • Cun Con - 9 years ago

      Well, my dream of iWatch that has a Touch ID under flexible screen and solar cell on the top leather bands. Also, it has power cells underneath to convert body heat to power source when there’s no sunlight. On top of regular wireless charging, it can charge itself from any iOS device within proximity. NFC is also included for payment combined with Touch ID authentication.

  4. rgbfoundry - 9 years ago

    I can see the horror story now. Somebody’s watch is going to burst into flames because of a faulty lithium-ion battery strapped to their wrist! The one-handed survivor will have survived the ordeal and amputation. Tearful appearances on the TODAY SHOW to follow shortly after.

    • standardpull - 9 years ago

      This happens to Samsung watches too. But no one notices since most are being incinerated in the local trash to energy plant.

  5. rogifan - 9 years ago

    So it’s allegedly not fashionable and yet we’re supposed to believe Jony Ive said Switzerland will be screwed? Screwed by a techie watch that isn’t fashionable? Someone is leaking BS.

    • PMZanetti - 9 years ago

      I interpret that statement as: Because of the utility of iWatch, it will a device its owner can’t live without, and the #1 accessory for any iPhone user. Watchmakers will become irrelevant when people opt for iWatch over a regular watch.

  6. Adam Rice (@adamrice) - 9 years ago

    What would qualify as “good” battery life for a smart watch? Serious question. The category isn’t well-enough established to really have a baseline for expectations.

  7. tomford7 - 9 years ago

    Before the iPhone batteries in phones lasted for days…

    • samuelsnay - 9 years ago

      Before the iPhone, phones only made calls…

      • Cun Con - 9 years ago

        and texts.

      • jorge1170x - 9 years ago

        Are you serious? Lots of smartphones existed before the iphone finally rolled out in 2007, and yes they were a minority and strictly for nerds but their existence in the marketplace makes your statement false. My 2004 BenQ P-50, for example, played feature-length divx movies without a hitch, could play hundreds of mp3s/wmas off of its full size SD card slot, could get exchange email/yahoo mail etc, could open excel files, and had a very crude but working version of internet explorer. And yes, because of all that, you did have to charge it nightly as we’re all used to now! So basically, you’re one of those people who believes in the revisionist history that the iPhone ushered in this smartphone, drain your battery era. No, it just sped it up dramatically, maybe a 5 year leap. HTC and others were already on the way there, I give Steve Jobs the credit for being shrewd enough to see where it was going and beat everyone to the punch. But now they’ve painted themselves into a corner as people expect a revolution every year and it’s just not possible!

      • samuelsnay - 9 years ago

        I engaged in hyperbole to make a point. And the point still stands. Relax.

  8. Lee (@leemahi) - 9 years ago

    Glucose and blood pressure sensors and they will OWN the smart watch segment. Without them, it’s just another pedometer with notifications imho.

    • That would be great for the US market as everyone is approaching obesity and diabetes is sure to kick in. For the rest of the world, it’s not that big a deal that a watch monitor your glucose nor blood pressure.

      Better still would be an alarm or warning voice that says “put that down” whenever is senses the watch approaching one’s face. “Don’t eat that” – “You’ve already had too much” – “Drink a glass of water instead”

      • o0smoothies0o - 9 years ago

        It’s a huge deal for every single human being. You are ignorant in regards to the subject, I wouldn’t expect you to understand.

      • thejuanald - 9 years ago

        So you have no clue what you’re talking about. China and India have way higher rates of diabetes, and Russia is close to the US. That, and mexico, Brazil, etc all have huge problems with diabetes. Instead of making up things to talk trash about the US, you need to stop talking so you can actually learn something.

      • thejuanald - 9 years ago

        Also, it’s a rising problem in all of Europe. But I get it, you just like talking trash about the US so you feel better about yourself.

      • kyemclachlan16 - 9 years ago

        South Africa has a higher obesity rate then what the US has, and seen as the whole world has gone all health conscious that’s feature would be a game changer!

    • o0smoothies0o - 9 years ago

      Nope, are other huge uses for it. Namely a virtual key strapped to your wrist that unlocks everything of yours, when you walk close enough, and locks everything when you walk far enough away. Think of it as an aura around the wearer.

      • It sounds great. Or imagine unlocking your MacBook, iMac just by approaching to it with iWatch on (it would know you have them on, not someone else). I know there’s possibility of doing this with for example your iPhone and an app but this seems even more cool to me. Plus, if there’s 2 or more profiles on your MB, iMac, it would log-in you to your one.

      • herb02135go - 9 years ago

        Like car doors.

      • slowawake - 9 years ago

        maybe they’ll have a cat collar version

      • slowawake - 9 years ago

        whoops, read that as “cat doors” — like those ones that open for an RFID chip. well anyway… yeah, cats.

      • Why can’t you have that feature on a phone, why does it need to be your watch, if it works as you explained, an aura, why couldn’t a smart phone do the same thing. Nobody leaves the house without their phone. So why do we need a whole new market of product for that?

    • herb02135go - 9 years ago

      Big deal in the US. It can track our BP so someone can hack it.

    • Frank Lazar - 9 years ago

      Is there such a thing as a non-invasive glucose sensor?

      • o0smoothies0o - 9 years ago

        Yes but I’m not sure it’s accurate enough or mature enough for this yet. A glucometer has to meet FDA regulations for accuracy in order to be implemented.

  9. xprmntr - 9 years ago

    He say she say i say wait

  10. I have a Pebble that seems to get about 1.5 days out of it. I just put it on the charger every night next to where the iPhone is charging. With this in mind, if the “iWatch” can get at least the same amount as the Pebble Steel then I will be fine with it.

    • jorge1170x - 9 years ago

      I don’t know, mine can very easily go 3 days. 5 is not out of the question but that’s stretching it. None of the new “watch” devices coming out will get anywhere near the pebble because it is b&w e-ink technology and very basic. But man it is also very useful, so I intend to hold onto it until the battery issue is resolved by the big boys and i think that will take years since we have hit a battery wall it seems.

  11. Laughing_Boy48 - 9 years ago

    I would imagine Apple’s wearable device would have the same problem as their smartphones as Apple chooses thinness over battery life. I guess I’ll have to wait until Mophie comes out with an Apple wearable devices JuicePack. Battery tech is probably in its infancy and these smaller devices are going to need some sort of miniature fuel cell or some nuclear reactor at its heart.

  12. If it has anything less than a WEEK of juice, I won’t even consider.

    I’m already charging two smartphones every night (work + private) plus my bluetooth headset. I’m getting quite SICK AND TIRED of the 5S’s battery that lasts almost a day and quite frankly, if I come across a dumbPhone that can sync contacts online and become a 3G/4G hotspot, or even a decent Android phone with an ePaper screen, bye bye iPhone with all your glory. The only things I will miss is Viber, FB Messenger and the like.

    The only iOS device with a good battery is the iPad (both the mini and the Air). And it’s a complete SHAME that Apple removed the Phone application from in there. It’d have made a GREAT phablet. This is one of the reasons that while I’m an Apple fan, I say “bastards” to them in Cupertino. Real Bastards!

    • herb02135go - 9 years ago

      Dude, get an S5. I get at least two days of heavy use on a charge.
      I also used iPhones for years but am glad I made the switch on so many levels.

      • What I see, you’re lowering yourself, day by day. I get 3 – 4 days on my iPhone 4S. What do you have you can tell about that? Don’t forget, heavy use of iOS doesn’t equal to heavy use of Android beucase in Android’s case it’s “heavy”.

        Here herbie, look at this iPhone’s batter is definitely one of the best ones (in many tests the best one).

    • jorge1170x - 9 years ago

      Not even the lowly (but highly useful) pebble, which maximizes juice lasts a week, so you’ll be waiting a long time for your criterion to be met. These new ones coming out have to be flashy and do a lot, AND be thin, AND be light, so they will eat through their tiny batteries in no time. They’ll have to be charged via motion or sunlight who knows.

  13. PMZanetti - 9 years ago

    Can we stop trying to short the stock please. The overflow of bullshit is getting out of control.

    • You know how it goes. When there’s a big company to make something big, everyone wants to profit from that even the blogs all around the world so this is the way they bring attention to them and get those clicks.

  14. Lars Pallesen - 9 years ago

    Man, I’m having such a hard time seeing how an iWatch can become a mass market product in the same way the iPod and the iPhone did? Maybe it’s just my lack of imagination, but no matter how much I think about it I still can’t figure out how Apple can make a product that is so vastly different from the largely failed attempts at smart watches that we’ve already seen from LG, Samsung, Motorola et. al. within the last year or so? Sensors and a focus on health and fitness? Yeah, sure, I can see the appeal to the same fitness-centric people who used to run with iPod Nanos strapped to their upper arms or a Nike Fuelband or something, but in that case the iWatch will only be something they strap on before they go running or working out to monitor calorie burn etc. How many will pay $300-400 for that kind of special gadget? What about regular people who are now wearing normal analog wrist watches? What will persuade them to take off their classic Seiko/Junghans/Omega watches and pay that kind of money for an iWatch that needs to be recharged every day or two to even display the time? Should we think of the iWatch more as an accessory to the iPhone? If the iWatch needs to be within Bluetooth range of our iPhones to do anything “smart” that sets it apart from normal digital watches it seems to me like the whole idea of a smart watch goes out the window? If the iWatch doesn’t mean you can leave your iPhone at home when you go out running or go to the beach it’s not really all that smart, is it? I even struggle to imagine what the hardware will look like. If you’re supposed to comfortably read a simple email or interact with the display by multi touch it needs to be at least 2″ – which makes it a rather big thing to have strapped to your wrist for most people. Women in particular. And if the iWatch is supposed to have an online connection and constant monitoring of your health data then it’s gonna need a pretty substantial battery which adds more bulk. Either that, or it will need to be recharged every night to even work in the morning. Oh, and it can’t monitor your sleep pattern while it’s sitting in the charger. Is the iWatch for the geeks? For the fashionistas? For the health fanatics? For the sporty? For the Rolex-wearing luxury crowd? Those are very different target groups with very different preferences. Would Apple spend this much time and money developing a niche product for the small subset of these groups to whom the iWatch appeals? I still can’t see what the iWatch can possibly bring to the table that could change all that. Can you?

    • o0smoothies0o - 9 years ago

      Main reason for the device, why it is being made, and what makes it completely different than the other watches which just try to be another smartphone or accessory:
      Biometrics and home automation (no smartphone needed; iPhone used when away from home)

      Secondary features include notifications from iPhone, telling you the date and time, waking you from sleep, etc.

      • Wireless charging (probably: inductive, possibly kinetic too; unlikely: near field magnetic resonance up to 1 meter)
      • Wireless syncing with iTunes/iOS devices
      • Wireless, Bluetooth EarPods
      • No ports
      • 8/16GB options
      • 1.5″ and 1.7″ display sizes
      • NFC mobile payments
      • High end, very expensive model using expensive materials like gold/platinum/diamond
      • 3~5 day battery life
      • Liquidmetal body (very strong, hard, and corrosion resistant)
      • Sapphire glass which curves around all edges, seamlessly into the body
      • OLED display which subtly curves with the contour of the wrist, and also subtly curves on the sides like so: ( )
      • Touch ID to authenticate device until it is removed from wearer’s wrist (uses sensors to determine if it is taken off the wrist, in which case, it locks, thus you only authenticate it once, each time you put it on)
      • Homekit integration, based on location and proximity sensors, to allow seamless changes to smart devices near wearer, including invisibly unlocking devices/doors/locks due to always-authenticated, unlocked state (while on the wrist)
      • Homekit lights can be dimly turned on when it detects you’ve gotten up for the day, or gotten up to use the bathroom in the night (from proximity and motion sensors)
      • Silent, smart alarm, wakes with vibration
      • Small speaker heard through circular holes akin to the other iOS devices, cutout on the lower curve of the body, on the left side of the body, thus the sound waves are carried up and outward (whether ideally by the forearm traveling up and toward the wearer’s ears, or bouncing off the wearer’s wrist/hand and shooting outward), amplified especially for the vast majority of people, which wear a watch on their left wrist.
      • Small microphone next to speaker
      • Raise to Siri/dictate
      • Short reply/scripted reply/dismiss to call/text/email notifications
      • Waterproof
      • Hard-reset pinhole button on the back
      • Biosensors (heart rate, O2, hydration, glucometer, etc.)
      • Various other sensors (barometer, temperature, humidity, proximity, motion, UV, M8 chip sensors, etc.)
      • Biometric/weather warning notifications (e.g. low hydration or hypo/hyperglycemia; high UV), also can be sent to family members if tethered to an iPhone (e.g. elderly family member falls down)
      • Family Sharing health integration iOS 8.1 alongside iWatch release
      • Display pivots in center and can be subtly physically depressed at the top, to act as the on/off button, and bottom, to act as the Home button
      • Always-on display shows a clock (digital or analog), and a tap on the screen dissolves it into the home screen
      • After a set period of inactivity on the home screen, it dissolves back to the lower powered, clock-display state (akin to the iPhone display going to sleep)
      • A press of the on/off button takes you back to the clock display, a ~1 second hold shuts the display completely off (for sleeping), a ~3 second hold requests confirmation to shut the device completely off

      • herb02135go - 9 years ago

        Touch ID in the clasp or whatever fastens/tightens it.
        That’s a part you touch anyway when you put the thing on.

      • jorge1170x - 9 years ago

        Quite a fanciful wishlist you made up there. Maybe a 30 minute battery life if it does all that lol. You have your hopes set so far up there that I think on Sept 9th you’ll be as disappointed as Mitt Romney was on the day after election day 2012. If apple does all that, it won’t/can’t be on one device.

      • o0smoothies0o - 9 years ago

        Indeed indeed haha. I think it will do some of that though.

      • Lars Pallesen - 9 years ago

        Thanks for you reply and your list of predicted features (or dreams?) for the iWatch. I noticed one thing on your list, which I haven’t seen anybody else talk about: LiquidMetal®. I think you’re right. The iWatch would be the perfect first product to be made of LiquidMetal. It’s small, needs to be durable and exclusive and it will be a much smaller production run than say iPhones or iPads. Apple bought the world exclusive rights for LiquidMetal technology for a reason, and I think the iWatch will be the debut for a new patented production method, which Apple has spent the last two and a half years refining: LiquidMetal injection molding.

  15. srjuanjo - 9 years ago

    Poor Apple, why always the same thing, please we all want more battery life!!!! and regarding to this news, we will see, I hope all of this not to be real

  16. D.A.H. Trump - 9 years ago

    people need to make better mockups

  17. thinkman12345 - 9 years ago

    More SH•T reporting on a product that no one really knows anything about! Good on you 9 — 5!

  18. kyemclachlan16 - 9 years ago

    Let’s just hope and pray Apple does release something new on Tuesday! :D my wrist in in need of some tech

  19. bobborries - 9 years ago

    Good thing is has wireless charging.

  20. Cun Con - 9 years ago

    That report is from an analyst with a friend working at Apple. Apple employees don’t know sh.t what products are coming unless they actually work on that product.I call this BS.

    • herb02135go - 9 years ago

      Let’s not forget Apple has communications plans to manage expectations.

      So when the device has a measly battery life the cult will think it’s fantastic.

      • o0smoothies0o - 9 years ago

        But why wouldn’t they do the reverse as well? If plans are going to leak, why not leak poorer specs and then blow people’s minds when it’s much better than they expected?

      • herb02135go - 9 years ago

        They don’t have to. Just read the comments. The fans are lowering their expectations.

  21. capdorf - 9 years ago

    I’ve got a watch, that lasts at least 2 years, before I need to attend to the battery. Why would I want to replace it with one that needs attention daily? The rest of the information can be carried on my phone. Also, my watch can be read in full sunlight.

    • jorge1170x - 9 years ago

      Receiving texts on your wrist is one of those things I cant live without now, and I just have a pebble. Oh, and E-ink works perfectly in sunlight!

    • rettun1 - 9 years ago

      You’re right, that’s a hard sell.

      But for someone like me who does not currently wear a watch (like many twenty-something’s, at least compared to older generations) the current offerings (both standard and smart watches) don’t do anything for me. We’ll see if Apple can convince me and others like me that this is a must-have device.

  22. Bryan Hough - 9 years ago

    Theres just no way that this will be better than Moto 360. No way, no how.

  23. gadesert - 9 years ago

    So my read on this is a combination of what others have said. First is that this is setting up a certain expectation to be destroyed at the conference. Second is that they won’t blow us away with mutliday battery life, they will do so with the best implementation of wireless charging yet seen. When it monitors your sleep you just need the wireless charging plugged in beside the bed and it will charge each night when you sleep.

  24. Truffol (@Truffol) - 9 years ago

    poor battery life will be a dealbreaker. good battery life is one of the main reasons the Pebble has done so well compared to the rest.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.