Apple reportedly testing several charging options for the rumoured iWatch

Ian Hardy

February 3, 2014 7:26 am

Apple has been rumoured to jump into the smartwatch market for a couple of years now. Other manufacturers have already released smartwatches, like Samsung with its Galaxy Gear and Sony with its SmartWatch. Many analysts believe this category of device will only take off when Apple releases the “iWatch.”

A new report in the New York Times lists a few potential technologies that Apple is reportedly considering to include into the rumoured watch. “People close to the efforts” said that Apple is testing induction charging, similar to what Nokia, Palm and Google have added into a few of their devices. The idea is that the iWatch will be placed on wireless charging plate to automatically charge so the user won’t have to continually plug it in.

Other possibilities that Apple’s looking at for charging is the ability to improve the battery life by movement (already done in watches today) and to possibly add a “solar-charging layer to that screen, which would give power to the device in daylight.” In addition, the iWatch one day could have a curved display, but NYT sources this is years away from being mass produced.

The latest launch date — which is still a massive rumour — for the iWatch is pegged at a Summer release.

Source: New York Times
Via: Image, Engadget

  • Francois R

    looks nice, i wish it could sync with Android :)

    • It’s Me

      That’s just an artist’s rendition of some of the rumours ;)

      From what I am reading, this thing will go far beyond being a “smart watch” and will be a fairly fully featured bio-medical wearable. Imagine a fitbit or fuelband that can monitor blood sugar or oxygen levels in the blood, blood pressure, pulse rate or hydration levels but can also interact with your phone like a Pebble or gear.

      Makes “smart watches” sound sort of dumb.

    • Rio

      I am a huge Apple fan, but Apple cannot defy the laws of physics.

      There is no possible way to include all that in a watch with a decent size and battery.

    • It’s Me

      Never say never. One way to help keep the size down would be to offboard the processing to the phone. The sensors themselves might be able to be kept small. They have been hiring the very best biomedical people, some that work specifically in micro sensors, recently.

    • WatDah

      If it’s in the traditional watch’s form factor, then you might be right. But what if it’s not? What if this is a new, different kind of device? Why are you so convinced into thinking that this is going to be a watch?

      I used to think that to add something as sophisticated as a fingerprint scanner in the iPhone will require a major design overahul (at least internally). But not only was I completely wrong, Apple did it without changing anything major. Lesson I learned is while some things are bounded by the laws of physics, we should not under estimate the power of technological design. After all, that is the very essence of how our world came to be today.

    • Rio

      I can assure you that if they do include all of that, it won’t be this year :)

      The difference here is for the iPhone 5s, the technology was there and close to fully developed by authentic. There currently no way to include all of those onto a watch. Even if they do off board all the processing to the phone, it is not easy to include all those sensors on a watch.

      If I am wrong you can let me know but I am fairly confident in my opinion

    • WatDah

      Hmmm I never mention anything about anything coming out this year. And I didn’t say anything that suggest you are wrong, and in fact, I agree with you that IF Apple is really making a watch, and IF they are doing it in the traditional form factor, it might not be possible with the commercial technology we have TODAY. But that doesn’t mean they can’t create something that can make it happen. And of course it is not easy, that’s why there are breakthrough products like the original iPhone.

      And again I never said you were wrong. But then again, why are you so convinced this is going to be a watch?

    • Francois R

      I know, possibilities are endless but we are still a bit far from all this, my dream is if they can get all this go in water, i wish i could record my rides, see my speed in real-time and compare with my friends while friendly kite-racing imagine how cool all this can be :)

    • Omis

      It’ll also clean your house and do your laundry.

    • It’s Me

      Nah, housework is why Google bought Nest.

    • Bri

      That sounds ridiculous. I don’t think people would pay so much more for those kind of features. Monitoring blood sugar, oxygen level, blood pressure, etc need to be checked in the middle of your commute to work on regular basis? These are unnecessary features on a smart watch.

    • It’s Me

      Perhaps they are unnecessary on a smartwatch. But very necessary on a health wearable. If the intent is simply to make a smartwatch that is actually pretty dumb, then Samsung already has the market cornered. But if the intent is to build a wearable that can be used as a health and fitness device, then none of that seems overboard.

      As far as do these things need to be checked frequently, have you ever seen the health and fitness nuts that are buying the fitbits and fuelbands? They are insane about tracking as much biometric data as possible. Pusle rates, steps, sleeping patterns, activity levels, bodyfat levels, elevation changes in courses, distance traveled, routes taken, times, calories burned, calories consumed, weight changes, breathing rate etc. They are obsessive about and will pay for products and services that afford them these measurements. They have sites where they can compare and compete their latest accomplishments. Something that can expand and improve collection and aggregation of this data in the background for them could be a killer. Health and fitness is a multibillion dollar business and growing. How well is the timepiece business doing these days?

      You sound like the BB diehards that used to say desktop class browsering was an unnecessary feature on a smartphone.

    • Bri

      And this market has a potential growth? How many people around you like to keep track of pulse rates, body fats, elevation changes, etc on regular basis? Or simply, how many people actually buy these fuelbands or fitbits that are around you? Majority of people around me don’t even have a clue about these devices and they don’t even know that they exist. I’m sure these fitness nuts will go crazy over such functionalities but not the majority of population.
      Also, with all these features, I’m sure they will have to charge much more than a regular “smart watches” with less functionalities. But would a majority of population who don’t care/purchase the health bands be interested in spending prime prices for products that have features that they don’t care about? This sounds more like those unused gestures/functionalities on Samsung devices that I never see anybody use or are aware of.

    • It’s Me

      You could well be right.

      My bet is on continued explosive growth in health and fitness products and services. Even google is getting in on the game with their recently previewed glucose monitoring contact lenses.

      As far as how much potential growth? I would suggest it is almost unlimited. The more affluent countries in the world all have aging populations. Monitoring vitals is going to become more and more important. Health and fitness have long been a boom industry and doesn’t appear to be slowing.

      Around me? I can think of a number of people that would be interested in different aspects of such a device. A few of my best friends are gym hounds. They are always looking for ways to improve and to measure their improvements. Whether that is fitbit bands or bodyfat scales, or weight loss, heartrate, etc, they are interested. A couple of them track many of these online, just like those other fanatics that track gas milage on their eco-cars. These nuts will spend lots of money to get these measurements. My parents are getting older so monitoring some vitals are important for them. A device that does this and reduces the number of other devices they have would be a boon for them. My wife and her circle of friends are always doing this diet or that workout, so a device that that markets itself as assisting in weight loss or goal setting/keeping wouldn’t be a hard sell. I was talking to a friend this weekend. Long time Apple hater. Detests them. But he is a fitness nut. I was surprised, but he said that if Apple came out with a bigger phone and a health monitoring device that actually worked, then he would switch to Apple. No one hates Apple more than him, so that shows, to me, the potential of such a device.

      Health and fitness and vitals monitoring have HUGE growth potential. Far more than timepieces that read email.

    • awhite2600

      Don’t forget that Tim Cook is a big fitness junkie. I believe that he already uses a Fuelband or similar product. I could easily see Cook convincing Apple to build in monitors for various biometric elements. I’m sure that any Apple Smart Watch product will be more than a fitness device. I just think we will find many fitness related features.

  • M-Len

    Crickets….

    • alphs22

      Because it’s all just rumours.

      Also smart watches aren’t very smart yet. Maybe this will change the status quo but probably not.

  • Bri

    The picture is most likely a fake but they look nice.

    • It’s Me

      Of course it’s “fake”. Renders always look good.

  • beyond

    I wish they would do something really innovative, like charge by body heat, or movement

    • 4ChanApologist

      They’d need someone else to do it first.