Apple had warned us that the upcoming Apple Watch would need to be charged “nightly,” but no specific battery life numbers have been forthcoming. But now, Mark Graham says his sources have been able to give him some specific numbers.
“According to our sources, Apple opted to use a relatively powerful processor and high-quality screen for the Apple Watch, both of which contribute to significant power drain.”
Apple initially wanted users to get one full day of usage out of the Apple Watch’s battery, expecting to see a small amount of “active” use, and a large amount of “passive” use.
As of 2014, Apple wanted to get 2.5 to 4 hours of active application use, around 19 hours of passive/active usage, 3 days in standby mode, or 4 days in sleep mode. Gurman’s sources now say Apple will likely only achieve 2-3 days in standby or sleep modes.
Apple is said to be targeting 2.5 hours of “heavy” app usage, such as gameplay, or 3.5 hours of standard app usage. Apple’s built-in fitness tracking software is likely to offer longer battery life of nearly 4 hours of constant exercise tracking on a single charge.
As far as acting as a timepiece, the Apple Watch should be able to give 3 hours of clock display, which should be more than enough, as most users only check the time occasionally and the watch display would be off when the screen isn’t in use, drawing less power.
While the battery numbers look low, in reality most users will only actively use the Watch and its apps for a few hours each day, resulting in the display being turned off for the majority of the day. As mentioned previously, Apple is shooting for 19 hours of mixed usage each day, but that target may prove elusive in the first-generation of the wearable device.
Gurman’s sources say the battery life issue was a contributing factor in Apple’s decision to push the retail launch of the device back from late 2014 to early 2015.
Apple is said to have distributed nearly 3,000 units in order to test the device in real-world conditions, mostly of the stainless steel variety.
The Apple Watch is expected to ship by the end of March, and pricing will begin at $349.