David Smith is a prolific app developer, and has created several popular apps focused on the Apple Watch. And yet when it came time for him to take an extended backpacking adventure outdoors, he chose a different watch:
For short day trips, the Apple Watch is great. It has done an admirable job tracking various hiking outings for me, and I love being able to see exactly where I went on those adventures.
But its battery life has never allowed for this to be practical for multi-day trips. It needs to be charged after around 7 hours of tracked hiking. Fine for a day trip, but when I head out to environments like this there aren’t an abundance of outlets to be found.
When I read Apple Watch reviews that wish it had longer battery life, I think about how there are key milestones for some features. If an Apple Watch can’t get through a day, it’s too short. But after it can get through a day (and it’s fair to point out that for people who use workout tracking a lot and have the smaller Apple Watch model, it may not be there yet), does it need to get through a day plus a few hours?
It seems to me that once an Apple Watch can make it through a day (and a night’s sleep, if you’re doing sleep tracking), it’s a quantum leap to the next goal. I’m not sure what that goal should be—if I had to remember to charge my Apple Watch every two or three days, I’d lose track of what day it was and end up charging it every day regardless.1
Smith’s post, however, shows another way to calculate that goal. The watch Smith bought for his adventure lasted for nearly two weeks on a single charge. Rumors abound that Apple is thinking of creating a more rugged Apple Watch; I wonder if part of the goals for that project should be a larger battery and some sort of new extended-life mode that would provide extreme power savings and long life.
Maybe, maybe not. But once Apple has plausibly extended the battery life of the Apple Watch to beyond our own diurnal cycle, the next goal becomes a lot less distinct.
[Thanks to Six Colors member Gareth for the link.]
I used to wear a Pebble smartwatch, which had multi-day battery life. Its battery died far more often than my Apple Watch ever has, because I never established a daily routine to charge it. ↩