THE APPLE WATCH
A Roadblock to Its Future
In June, I posted a series of three perspectives on the future of the smartwatch. While each has a slightly different viewpoint, they all agree that the smartwatch has to untether from the smartphone to fully realize its potential and accelerate market adoption.
The second post in the series, A GREAT LEAP FORWARD: Don’t Leave Home Without It, focused on the future of the Apple Watch. It noted that the key to large-scale adoption is evolving the Apple Watch into “The can’t-leave-home-without-it device.” To achieve this the Apple Watch will need its own always-on internet connection. But that may be wishful thinking because, “The factor that most limits the potential of the Watch is the battery.”
Now comes news from Bloomberg Technology that, “Apple Hits Roadblocks in Cutting Watch Ties to iPhone.” The article by Mark Gurman, Alex Webb, and Scott Moritz begins, “Apple Inc. has hit roadblocks in making major changes that would connect its Watch to cellular networks and make it less dependent on the iPhone, according to people with knowledge of the matter.” The heart of the article states that:
“Apple had been in talks this year with mobile phone carriers in the U.S. and Europe to add cellular connectivity to the watch, according to people familiar with the talks. A cellular chip would have theoretically allowed the product to download sports score alerts, e-mail and mapping information while out of an iPhone’s reach.
“During the discussions, Apple executives expressed concern that the cellular models may not be ready for release this year and that the feature may be pushed back to a later generation, according to the people. Apple warned that, even on an aggressive schedule, the earliest possible shipment time-frame for cellular models would have been this December, one of the people said.
“The source of the delay is that current cellular chips consume too much battery life, reducing the product’s effectiveness and limiting user appeal, according to three of the people. Apple has begun studying lower-power cellular data chips for future smartwatch generations.”
Survey after survey has revealed that the number one consumer wish for mobile devices is better battery life for longer run-times between charges. With significantly less volume available to house batteries than tablets and smartphones, better battery performance is even more critical for wearable devices. An ultra-thin battery that significantly increases energy density holds the promise to support an always-on internet connection and extend the run-time between charges of a smartwatch, increasing the product’s effectiveness and expanding user appeal.