Imagine this scenario:
You wake up at 6 a.m. and go to the gym. Then it’s off to work for eight or nine hours. Then dinner and maybe drinks. You’re home by 11 p.m.
Is your Apple Watch dead?
Based on a report from 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, the answer is probably yes, especially if you use the watch a lot.
Gurman reports that Apple has been targeting 2.5 to 4 hours of active use on the Apple Watch. (That means the screen is on.) If you include a mix of active use standby mode (when the screen is off), Apple is shooting for about 19 hours on a charge.
Gurman was careful to note that these were Apple’s battery life targets as of 2014, so it’s possible Apple has figured out a way to squeeze more out of the battery in time for the watch’s launch in a few months.
Meanwhile, other smartwatches on the market can last a lot longer. For example, Samsung’s Gear 2 watch can last up to three days on a charge with normal use.
When I brought this up on Twitter this week, a lot of people pointed out that you can just charge your Apple Watch midday at work, like many people do with their iPhones. But that defeats the purpose of what the Apple Watch is designed to do.
As Apple’s own promotional materials point out, the Apple Watch is first and foremost a watch. Everything else from fitness tracking to receiving texts is just gravy. But if Apple wants to replace your current watch, creating one that can’t even make it through a full day of use isn’t going to cut it. Regular watches last months, years, or forever (if you have a self-charging model). Based on Gurman’s report, you’ll be lucky if your Apple Watch is still going by the time you go to bed at night.
And removing your watch in the middle of the day to charge it means you’re missing out on the device’s fitness monitoring and other handy features.
Apple has been relatively quiet on the Apple Watch’s battery life so far. The official line is you’ll have to charge it nightly. If you can truly make it the whole day on a charge, it probably won’t be a problem for most people. But if the “active” usage is on the lower end of Apple’s targets, battery life is going to be a big problem for the Apple Watch.