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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple is exploring a variety of different charging methods for its upcoming "iWatch" smart watch project, according to a report from The New York Times. At the top of the list for Apple appears to be induction charging, allowing users to recharge their watches wirelessly.
For its wristwatch, Apple has been testing a method to charge the battery wirelessly with magnetic induction, according to a person briefed on the product. A similar technology is already used in some Nokia smartphones -- when a phone is placed on a charging plate, an electrical current creates a magnetic field, which creates voltage that powers the phone.
ipod_nano_watchface_wrist-800x411.jpg
Apple's sixth-generation iPod nano with one of several included watch faces
Other options for Apple include solar and movement-based charging, although it appears those ideas may still be several years from becoming practical. The report also reiterates the newspaper's claim from last year that the iWatch will feature a curved glass display.
Apple has also experimented with new power-charging methods for a potential smartwatch, people close to the efforts said, though such experiments are years from becoming a reality. The watch is expected to have a curved glass screen, and one idea is to add a solar-charging layer to that screen, which would give power to the device in daylight, they said.

Another experiment at Apple has involved charging the battery through movement, a method that is already used in many modern watches. A person's arm swinging could operate a tiny charging station that generates and pushes power to the device while walking, according to a patent filed by Apple in 2009.
The report notes that with battery technology improving relatively slowly, Apple has focused on improving power efficiency of various components in its devices, as seen with the latest generation of the MacBook Air.

iPod creator and Nest co-founder Tony Fadell is also quoted as confirming that Apple had explored solar charging for the iPhone and iPod for a number of years, but the technology proved infeasible due to users storing the devices in pockets and other dark places for extended periods of time.

For the iWatch, Apple has been working on flexible new battery designs and looking at new charging technologies, but battery life has reportedly continued to be one of the sticking points for Apple as it seeks to create a powerful smart watch capable of lasting several days between charges.

Article Link: Apple Testing Induction, Solar, and Motion Charging for Curved-Glass iWatch
 

One Bad Duck

macrumors member
Sep 18, 2005
89
51
iWatch

I think this product is going to surprise us all and be something just a little special.
 

AngerDanger

Graphics
Staff member
Dec 9, 2008
5,391
28,478
Hmm, if it means longer usage, I'd be more than happy to get a small lightinging port installed on my wrist for the iWatch to run off. It would also nullify the need for a strap…

295047_3784102090886_1527024595_55047422_1191667144_n.jpg
 
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ArmCortexA8

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2010
1,033
186
Terra Australis
Movement based charging would not be that hard, hell Seiko watches have a Kinetic series where movement charges the battery and winds the mechanism - all they have to do is use the same idea and modify it - Im sure it would not be that hard to do. Im not a fan of induction charging because these take a lot longer than conventional AC charging due to the lower voltage / current being used. The only major difference is no direct cable from watch to wall - watch sits on a "plate" which is then connect to an AC adapter. Its "convenient" but too slow time wise.

Plus you still have a cable from from the induction charger to the wall. Solar has similar technical issues as the panels cannot charge the battery quick enough due to their low voltage / current as the sunlight is converted into a current to charge the battery. Then the battery has to hold this charge in a large capacity and not drain quickly either - Solar panels are usually slower and not as visually appealing and would need to be covered in sapphire crystal as well to protect them from damage and scratches.

So far the only charging system thats the quickest is AC based, the rest are good in theory but way too slow.
 

APlotdevice

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2011
3,124
3,802
Movement based charging would not be that hard, hell Seiko watches have a Kinetic series where movement charges the battery and winds the mechanism - all they have to do is use the same idea and modify it - Im sure it would not be that hard to do.

I imagine the issue is with how much energy is generated. A smart watch obviously needs a lot more power than a conventional one.
 

taptic

macrumors 65816
Dec 5, 2012
1,338
437
California
As long as it leaves the Galaxy Gear in the dust... but then, Apple could make something like that by accident.
 

applerocks

macrumors regular
Jun 7, 2005
159
68
Two big stories in a three-day period for the iWatch. Where there's enough smoke, there's fire. Here we go :)

In other news, the iOS 8 checklist is:
Healthbook
Fix photo management
Maps with transit
Mobile payments
Multi-user support with Touch ID
 

carjakester

macrumors 68020
Oct 21, 2013
2,228
55
Midwest
how cool would it be to have a charging system like some normal watches where it can wind up. non innovative my ass. i will be waiting in line for this!
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,828
16,760
Central U.S.
Movement based charging would not be that hard, hell Seiko watches have a Kinetic series where movement charges the battery and winds the mechanism - all they have to do is use the same idea and modify it - Im sure it would not be that hard to do. Im not a fan of induction charging because these take a lot longer than conventional AC charging due to the lower voltage / current being used. The only major difference is no direct cable from watch to wall - watch sits on a "plate" which is then connect to an AC adapter. Its "convenient" but too slow time wise.

Not be that hard? You do realize that iWatch will do a lot more than simply tell you the time, right? It's a little computer. There is huge room for improvements to efficiency in such designs—which would require a hefty amount of innovation.

I think one solution will be inductive, but the kicker is it will charge from a few feet away. Plug in the wall adapter behind your bed, or at your desk at work. Have a battery that lasts several days, and each night it only has to charge it a fractional amount of that to keep charged. I also tend to think the battery will be in the wrist strap. I also think it will be a bit wider, like a band instead of a watch. The curved glass display will go nearly edge to edge, and in the first version wrap around the top part of the loop. I've also got another idea for a unique user interaction that I'd like to mock up with some animation, but I don't have time (hah sorry no pun intended).
 

carjakester

macrumors 68020
Oct 21, 2013
2,228
55
Midwest
I imagine the issue is with how much energy is generated. A smart watch obviously needs a lot more power than a conventional one.

but as an additional charging source, with just a battery lets say the watch lasts 5 days, if it had the kinetic charging it could maybe prolong that to a week, which would be a way to potentially solve the battery problem.
 

o0smoothies0o

macrumors regular
Aug 12, 2013
193
0
Movement based charging would not be that hard, hell Seiko watches have a Kinetic series where movement charges the battery and winds the mechanism - all they have to do is use the same idea and modify it - Im sure it would not be that hard to do. Im not a fan of induction charging because these take a lot longer than conventional AC charging due to the lower voltage / current being used. The only major difference is no direct cable from watch to wall - watch sits on a "plate" which is then connect to an AC adapter. Its "convenient" but too slow time wise.

Plus you still have a cable from from the induction charger to the wall. Solar has similar technical issues as the panels cannot charge the battery quick enough due to their low voltage / current as the sunlight is converted into a current to charge the battery. Then the battery has to hold this charge in a large capacity and not drain quickly either - Solar panels are usually slower and not as visually appealing and would need to be covered in sapphire crystal as well to protect them from damage and scratches.

So far the only charging system thats the quickest is AC based, the rest are good in theory but way too slow.
They obviously don't want you to have to plug it in. The main reason being that it would save considerable space in the device if you remove the lightning port.
 

lolkthxbai

macrumors 65816
May 7, 2011
1,405
477
I'm praying it takes design cues from the Nike Fuelband SE. I think it's a very well thought out design. I think it's the small things that people don't notice that really makes it a great product.
 

goobot

macrumors 603
Jun 26, 2009
6,174
3,508
long island NY
They obviously don't want you to have to plug it in. The main reason being that it would save considerable space in the device if you remove the lightning port.

The lightning port serves more of a purpose other than charging, what happens when you need to update/restore? What happens when you want to sync it?
 

Sedulous

Contributor
Dec 10, 2002
2,503
2,468
I still don't see why anyone would want what is undoubtedly an expensive underpowered nano iPod. People are moving away from watches. The convergence of services into fewer devices is what people want. Unless this watch can make phone calls, check email, run games, etc., what is the point?
 

ElTorro

macrumors 6502
Jan 23, 2013
273
2
Make it motion charged and design it for the right hand. Given the fan base, I predict it will never have to be connected to power.
 

Alphabetize

macrumors 6502
Oct 6, 2013
452
48
Isn't there some kind of experimental technology called "graphene" that allegedly keeps batteries charged for an insane amount of time?
 
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