After more than a year of speculation, Apple finally unveiled its first wearable device on Tuesday — the Apple Watch.
The company’s first smartwatch is designed to work with your iPhone to keep track of your health, make it easier to communicate with others, and much more. The Apple Watch runs on a new type of software designed for its smaller screen.
But there are two key details that could make or break the smartwatch’s success Apple didn’t talk about on stage: its battery life and how much the different straps will cost.
Battery life has been a major obstacle for wearable devices so far, and many have been eager to see how Apple tackles this problem. Wearable technology needs to feel natural, and nothing feels less natural than having to constantly keep your wristwatch plugged in just to get basic functionality.
Some of today’s newest smartwatches have been criticised for short battery life. Take the Moto 360, for example. It attracted a lot of attention since its among the first crop of smartwatches to feature a round watch face rather than a square one. But some reviews indicated that it could only last for about 12 hours on a charge. In my own testing, it lasted for about a day with moderate to heavy usage.
When asked about the Apple Watch’s battery life, a company representative told Business Insider you can charge the watch at night. The representative didn’t offer further comment on the Apple Watch’s battery.
Wearable devices need to look and feel like something you’d actually want to wear, and Apple knows this. That’s why the company is rolling out 18 different types of styles with wristbands made of various materials. If you head over to Apple’s official page for its new watch, you’ll note that this is its most heavily promoted feature.
The company is also touting the watch’s customisation options, which range from the array of straps to the ability to tweak its different watch faces, as one of its standout features. Apple CEO Tim Cook referred to the watch as “personal” multiple times.
But what’s unclear is how much those wristbands will cost. Apple says the watch starts at $US349, but didn’t mention if that actually includes a band — and if so, it didn’t say which band design would ship with the device. If customers are already coughing up $US350 just for the basic version of the watch, they may be less inclined to shell out even more money for different straps to customise it the way Apple intends.
There are a lot of unanswered questions about the Apple Watch, but Apple has some time to figure out the answers since the watch won’t launch until 2015. The bottom line is that battery life is a giant issue for wearables right now, and we’re looking forward to seeing how Apple solves this in its own smartwatch.