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Apple Watch's battery life is a mystery and that's a problem

Apple Watch's battery life is a mystery and that's a problem


No battery life breakthroughs were talked about today

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Apple announced its first wearable today, the new Apple Watch. It's packed with a lot of features, including voice controls, tight integration with the iPhone, custom notifications, and support for Apple Pay, the company's new payments platform. It's going to be available next year starting at $349.

Update: Read our Apple Watch review.

But for all of the talk it did for the Apple Watch today, Apple left out some key details about the product, such as screen resolution, processing capabiliities, and most importantly, expected battery life. Of the smartwatches we've seen before, battery life has ranged from five to seven days, down to a mere few hours. Those watches that are able to last multiple days — the Pebble and Meta Watch, most notably — have black and white LCD displays and not the color touchscreen that Apple showed off today. Watches that do have color touchscreen displays, such as the Moto 360, LG G Watch, and Samsung's Gear line, have pretty poor battery life, with some struggling to last even a full day. Charging your watch every day isn't fun, and having to do it multiple times a day is even worse.

If Apple did have a remarkable breakthrough in battery life, it likely would have talked about it on stage today when it was going through all of the features in Apple Watch. Given the numerous functions demonstrated, and the various sensors packed into it, I'd be surprised if Apple is able to get longer than a day's worth of battery out of its watch. (Tim Cook alluded to this when he said you "charge it at night.") It also doesn't bode well that the display is not always on and only lights up when you move your wrist or interact with the watch. But Apple has a long time before it will be selling the Apple Watch to consumers and I could be pleasantly surprised when it does actually arrive. We'll surely be putting it through its paces once we're able to test it out come next year.