Battery life is a major concern for most entries in the fledgling smartwatch category; last year The Verge heard that Apple was having power trouble with its much-anticipated wearable device.
Now The New York Times reports that Cupertino is exploring new technologies to solve the problem. According to the Times’ sources, Apple is considering equipping the smartwatch’s screen with a solar-charging layer that would top up the battery when the device is worn in daylight, though such a solution is considered “years from becoming a reality.”
The Times report repeats the newspaper’s year-old claim that the watch will use a curved glass screen, and one anonymous source says that Apple has been testing wireless charging for the device. Nokia’s smartphones, some of which use Qi magnetic charging pads, are called out for comparison; Apple has yet to introduce wireless charging to any of its iPhone range. Senior marketing VP Phil Schiller has gone on record as doubting the technology’s utility, pointing out that the charging pads themselves must be plugged into a power source. “Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated,” he told All Things D at the iPhone 5 launch in 2012.
The Times also notes that Apple has hired battery engineers from the likes of Tesla and Toyota in recent years, and mentions the company’s numerous patents relating to technology such as flexible batteries and tiny components that generate power from external motion. The Information reported last month that Apple was struggling to attain satisfactory battery performance from its smartwatch.